Docs: VA measles case shows need to vaccinate

VIRGINIA (WUSA9) -- Outbreaks of measles cases in the United States and the the first recent case to hit Virginia, is putting public health officials on alert.

California has had about 50 measles cases. New York City has 25 cases, 12 are in children, eight of them are infants who are too young to be vaccinated. And now, Virginia has one case so far of this dangerous, yet preventable disease.

"It's unusual," says Loudoun County Health Director David Goodfriend, but the fact that there are still so few cases in the U.S. shows vaccinations work. But, he says the Virginia case, in a person who was infected while traveling overseas, is a reminder that we are not immune from the disease.

Goodfriend says when Americans who have not been vaccinated against measles travel overseas where the disease is more prevalent, they put themselves, and others here at home, at risk.

The Virginia Department of Health has pinpointed ten South Riding and Chantilly places such as a Harris Teeter and a CVS where the infected person went while he or she was contagious. The VDH includes dates and times last week.

"I've been to most of those places, but I'm not concerned," said Charity Weaverling, a South Riding resident. She said everyone in her family, including her baby son have been vaccinated. She said she is concerned that some parents refuse to vaccinate their children.

South Riding mother Jenny Manning felt the same way and has also been to many of the locations listed. "I'm not going to keep them at home. I get my kids vaccinated. That's why we do it," she said.

In Virginia, there is a state law that children must be vaccinated before entering public school. However, parents may ask for a waiver. However, health officials advise parents to not wait for children to be school age, because they are most vulnerable when they are very young.

Nationally, the vaccination rate has been steady at more than 90 percent, which the Centers for Disease Control says it's plenty to prevent a widespread outbreak. In Virginia, more than 94 percent of children are vaccinated against measles.


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