Local Doctor Calls Measles Cases Alarming - NBC 7 San Diego

Local Doctor Calls Measles Cases Alarming

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Anti-Vaccine Movement to Blame for Measles Outbreak

    Measles, like what was seen at Disneyland, have been popping up in record numbers. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala reports on how doctors think the anti-vaccine movement is largely to blame. (Published Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015)

    A San Diego-area pediatrician considers nine cases of measles linked to Disneyland to be very alarming.

    Sharp Chula Vista pediatrician Dr. Ahmad Bailony is troubled over the new cases that popped up after the patients visited the popular theme park in December. Two of the patients are from San Diego, and both of whom had not been vaccinated for the disease, the California Department of Public Health says.

    "The problem is these days, we unfortunately have a lot of parents that are refusing to vaccinate based on their own beliefs, and that's creating a problem for the larger population," said Bailony.

    2014 saw 600 confirmed cases of measles – a record amount for a virus we eliminated back in 2000, according to Bailony. The virus is a preventable epidemic, he said. Children can receive the measles, mumps and rubella combination vaccine or the measles, mumps, rubella and varicella combination vaccine.

    “Certainly in San Diego it's above 90 percent,” Bailony said of the number of people vaccinated against the virus. “But for measles, to prevent sustained contagious cases from one generation to the next, you have to have really over 95 to 98 percent of the population immunized in order to really protect the public, and we're not there."

    The nine cases of measles at Disneyland are very alarming, he said. Many who chose not to vaccinate their kids believe shots cause things like autism, but that premise has been scientifically disproved, Bailony told NBC 7. 

    Now, county and state health officials are hoping to stop the disease's spread before it continues. The infected San Diego siblings visited the Parkway Plaza Mall in El Cajon on Dec. 29, possibly contaminating others, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency warns.

    Shoppers may have been exposed to measles if they were at the mall between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., especially around the GameStop, Sunglass Hut and mall carousel. If someone contracts it, they should know within 21 days, experiencing early symptoms like a cough, runny nose and red eyes. Anyone with measles is considered contagious if they have a distinctive red rash.