Doctors Warn of Measles Outbreak

4-8 measles vaccineMEDFORD, Ore. – Public health officials are urging people to get immunized after an outbreak of the measles. The disease, which had been eradicated roughly a decade ago, has appeared six times in Oregon this year – one more case than all of last year.

Dr. Jim Shames, Medical Director of Jackson County Health and Human Services, says the reason for the resurgence is that too few people are getting immunized.

He says the disease is one of the most highly contagious in the world, and most doctors wouldn’t know it if they saw it.

“Most of the health care professionals in this country have never seen the measles,” said Shames. “We essentially eradicated it. And so the consciousness is not very high, the recognition is not very high.”

The standard MMR vaccine gives people a 96-99% resistance to the disease, but there are no cures or antibiotics with which to treat it. The measles generally appears like any other severe illness for those who are healthy, but it can be deadly for those with health complications.

While neither Jackson nor Josephine counties have seen a case yet this year, Shames says several pockets in the area are very high risk because of low immunization rates.