Measles Outbreak Fans Vaccination Controversy
Doctors across the country are dealing with a measles outbreak. Most of the cases are children.
Health officials confirmed measles cases originating at California's Disneyland, then across the country in New York on an Amtrak train from Penn Station to Niagra Falls. In all, nearly 100 cases have been reported in 14 states.
Physicians like Dr. Gale Burstein caution measles is extremely easy to catch.
"It's so contagious that if somebody has measles and theyr'e in a room and breathing, because it's spread by air droplets," Burstein said. "And then they leave the room and an unimmunized person walks into that room two hours later, there's a 90 percent chance they're going to get infected."
While measles is highly contagious, it's also highly preventable, thanks to the measles vaccine, called MMR. In addition to measles, it also protects against mumps and rubella.
Most daycares and schools require students to prove they've gotten their MMR shot before entering the classroom, but it's easy to get an exemption. More parents are choosing to opt-out of getting their child vaccinated for religious or philosophical reasons.
Dotty Hagmier founded a support group called Moms in Charge.
"We should be fully informed with what exactly is in each and every injection that goes into our child's body," she said.
Getting children vaccinated is a controversy that's growing between parents across the nation. Boyce Evans believes children should not have the option of opting-out of vaccination.
"If you want to have your children associate with other children in publicly funded places like public schools, you should have them inoculated. It shouldn't be a choice," he said. "You should have to have that, because you're putting everyone else at danger."
Symptoms of measles include the tell-tale red, blotchy skin rash, also a cough, runny nose and fever. Measles can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, and in rare cases, death.