Doctors encourage measles vaccinations amid outbreaks

Now is the time to get vaccinated against the measles if you haven't already.

That's the message the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is sending to Carolinians throughout the state.

"I urge you-- if you have not been vaccinated as a child, go ahead and get vaccinated," said Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Arash Poursina.

The Carolinas are among some of the only eastern states without any measles outbreaks.

"The virus itself is incredibly contagious," said Dr. Poursina.  "And it can stay airborne for an extended period of time."

Health officials say all children should be given an MMR vaccination, with the first dose being administered at around one year old-- and the second at about 4-6 years old.

These 25 U.S. counties have highest risk of measles outbreak in 2019, researchers say

"The most important and effective defense we have is the vaccination," said Dr. Poursina.  "And if you have not been vaccinated, I urge you to go ahead and get vaccinated."

According to the CDC, there have been at least 764 confirmed measles cases in 23 states from January 1 to May 3.

"Adults who haven't had the vaccination that were born after 1957 should have at least one dose of the vaccination," said Dr. Poursina.

In addition to a fever and a rash, those with measles also have a cough, a red eye and a runny nose.

"If one person in a room has measles and there are ten other people, nine of the ten will get measles," said Dr. Poursina.  "In fact, after the patient has left the room-- anyone who enters up to two hours after can still get measles."

Parents who fear vaccinations usually do so because they're afraid it could cause Autism-- but doctors say that's not the case.

"If their child gets measles, they can get something that causes brain damage-- and that brain damage is far worse than any Autism they can ever be afraid of," said Dr. Poursina.  "Plus, there have never been any links established between Autism and vaccinations-- it's all myth and here-say."

There have been measles outbreaks reported in both Tennessee and Georgia.