GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) A growing measles outbreak continues to concern health officials in northeast Wisconsin. With measles now confirmed in 19 states, local physicians say it’s vital everyone is vaccinated.
Across the U.S. health officials remain on high alert now that 465 cases of measles have been confirmed in 19 states since the start of 2019. A number that keeps growing for a serious illness that Aurora BayCare Pediatrician Dr. Donald Beno says can turn deadly.
“One out of 20 people that get measles will end up with pneumonia, of that, that’s the number one cause of death from measles,” said Dr. Beno.
According to the CDC measles outbreaks are ongoing in California, Washington, New York and Michigan. The majority of those who’ve contracted measles were unvaccinated. Dr. Beno says the reason for that is likely unfounded fear and misinformation.
“Unfortunately, the number of people not immunized has increased due to false claims that were put into society a few years ago, saying the measles vaccine causes autism. That has been totally and completely disproved at this point,” said Beno.
While measles has not been reported in Wisconsin, Beno knows that could change quickly with cases reported in neighboring states.
“Unfortunately, people travel and it’s only a matter of time if we don’t immunize ourselves,” said Beno.
A message the Aurora Health Care System is sharing with parents – urging them to get their children immunized.
“Our whole system is sending out letters to any patient that is not immunized from the age of 13 months onward,” Beno said.
Beno says the measles vaccine is the only way to control the illness that is back on the rise, two decades after being declared eliminated in the U.S.
The CDC says the measles vaccine is 97 percent effective in preventing the illness.