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Due to vaccination gaps, UAB warns of potential measles outbreak.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Children’s of Alabama held a media session today to address concerns about the rising number of measles outbreaks across the United States.

Dr. David Kimberlin, who co-directs UAB and Children’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, stressed the importance of vaccination in preventing measles. He compared the measles virus to a “heat-seeking missile,” emphasizing its ability to target those without immunity.

Dr. Kimberlin expressed worry that without proper precautions, the measles outbreak could reach the severity seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Traditionally, when 95% of a community is vaccinated, the virus struggles to spread. However, Dr. Kimberlin noted that currently, 36 states, including Alabama, fall short of this threshold.

Measles symptoms can be severe, including high fevers of up to 104 or 105 degrees, coughing, congestion, and red eyes. The virus poses the greatest risk to the unvaccinated, young children, and those with underlying health conditions.

One concerning fact Dr. Kimberlin mentioned is that the virus can incubate in the body for up to four days before symptoms appear, making it difficult to detect and contain.

To combat measles spread, Dr. Kimberlin urged parents and guardians to ensure their children are vaccinated and to consult with their pediatricians for accurate information. He emphasized the safety and effectiveness of the MMR vaccine, which has been in use for over six decades.

Already in 2024, there have been reports of twenty measles cases across eleven states, including a confirmed case in Georgia.

The key takeaway: vaccination is crucial in preventing measles outbreaks and protecting public health.

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