Measles outbreak brings up vaccination concerns - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Measles outbreak brings up vaccination concerns

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - With the recent measles outbreak, questions arise about how this virus has spread across the country. 

Dr. Shane Speights, vice president of medical affairs for St.Bernards, said it stems from unvaccinated people carrying the virus and spreading it to other unvaccinated people. 

He said the virus is very contagious. 


“Let's say somebody that's infected comes in from another country and goes through an airport, then 5 or 6 people get infected by that individual, then those 5 or 6 individuals go back to their home states and then you've got 5 or 6 different outbreaks that occur there,” Speights said.

Speights said the chances of you contracting measles are greater than your chances of contracting Ebola. 


“It's very preventable if you get the vaccine, but if you're not vaccinated it can be very contagious,” said Speights. “It can cause pneumonia, it can get into the lining of the brain and actually cause death.”

Some parents may have some reservations about vaccinating their children and fear it will cause a medical disability. 


Speights urges parents to get information from medical professionals. 


“Usually there's some misinformation there,” Speights said. “Those individuals know there's no question, the answer is to vaccinate.”


Speights said many medical studies that linked vaccinations to disabilities have been disproved. 


He said its vital parents understand what the vaccine is and what it does. 


“By injecting that (measles virus) into your body, your body recognizes that and it can create memory cells,” Speights said. “If your body was to ever come in contact with this disease, then it would be able to fight it off immediately and you wouldn't get bad pneumonia, you wouldn't get a brain infection and ultimately, you wouldn't die from the disease because your body is already prepared for it.”

Dr. Speights said it's important that more people get vaccinated because it increases protection against viruses and diseases in communities.

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