So far, more than 100 cases of measles have been diagnosed this year in 21 states, including Tennessee.
August is actually National Immunization Awareness month. Doctors say the only way to lessen your chances of getting the measles is to get vaccinated.
From January 1 through July 14, the CDC recorded 107 measles patients living in 21 states, including Tennessee.
Although, the CDC does not consider this a multi-state outbreak, the agency said every year, unvaccinated people get measles while they are abroad, then bring the disease into the United States.
“Those that have the greatest risk of contracting the illness are the elderly, those who have chronic conditions and those who have weakened immune systems,” said Landon Dutton, Nurse Practitioner at American Family Care Decatur.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads through the air via coughing and sneezing.
“Some of the symptoms of the measles include, cough, runny nose, itchy, red, watery eyes,” said Dutton. “A few days later you can develop white spots in the mouth as well as a red, flat rash that usually starts on the face and spread down the body,” he continued.
The vast majority of those who become infected with the disease are not vaccinated. “Here at American Family Care we actually offer it, it’s the MMR. It usually starts at 12 to 15 months of age and we highly recommend all new parents to vaccinate their children,” Dutton said.
The MMR is about 93% effective at preventing the measles if you come into contact with the virus. If you’re unsure of your immunization status there are tests doctors can do to determine if you have immunity.
“We had much rather you come in to be vaccinated than us have to treat you for the illness,” Dutton added.