Chattanooga doctor breaks down myths about measles

Chattanooga doctor breaks down myths about measles

Three new cases of measles have been confirmed in the Atlanta area today.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says the three people are from the same family. They say no one in the family was vaccinated.

This comes after another case confirmed case in East Tennessee.

State health officials warned people who stopped at the Mapco at 200 Browns Ferry Road the night of April 11, that they could have been exposed to the virus.

We're getting answers from a local infectious disease specialist about the highly contagious virus now hitting home.

"We thought measles had been eliminated from the United States," said Dr. Charles Woods, the Chief Medical Officer at Children's Erlanger Hospital.

The CDC has confirmed more than 600 cases in the country this year.

"It sounds like in no means we are at the end of this, we may just be at the beginning," Woods said.

He says more cases have been popping up because in recent years, more families have been afraid to vaccinate their children.

"They're trying to make the best decision for their child, but as we've had less children vaccinated against measles we have more of them that are then susceptible who can then get measles if they're exposed, that allows measles to become re-established in the country," Woods said.

Dr. Woods says while most people who get measles are OK and then have a lifetime immunity, the complications can be very severe for some, even deadly.

"About 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000 children who get measles will die," Woods said.

Some parents worry about their children getting autism from vaccines. Dr. Woods says that information came from one study years ago, and is not factual.

"That study has been retracted, it's now considered to have been a fraudulent study," Dr. Woods said.

Some people have commented on our Facebook page implying that the push to get vaccinated is an agenda to create false panic and benefit pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Woods says this is not true.

"There's no one from a vaccine company that has come to talk to me about this at all," Dr. Woods said.

Getting the vaccine might cause a slight percentage of people to have mild symptoms Dr. Woods says, but "it's nowhere near the full disease."

"We don't want to drive people to panic, but just to think about the risk they're taking if they're not vaccinated."

Most insurance companies cover MMR vaccines.

The Chattanooga Hamilton County Health Department says they offer the vaccines for up to $94 dollars, but it could be free for some qualifying patients.

"The best way to protect your child your family is to get the two doses of vaccine in a timely manner," Dr. Woods said. "We don't want to drive people to panic, but just to think about the risk they're taking if they're not vaccinated."

If you have any questions talk to your local healthcare provider.

We spoke with local parents about the vaccination debate.

"The doctors know what they're doing so I trust their judgement," says Chris Lopez, a father of two. "The vaccines are there for a reason so I believe all kids should get it that way there's no unfortunate accident."

Peggy Woody says her grown kids were vaccinated, but she thinks parents should have the right to decide if that's the best decision for their families.

"Do a little research, parents nowadays do tons of research so I think they have a lot of good resources and they should use them," Woody said.

We reached out to the Tennessee Coalition for Vaccine Choice for their thoughts on vaccinations. We will update if we hear back.

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