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Health Officials Push Immunizations After Arizona Measles Cases

Justin Regan

After a measles outbreak at Disneyland in California, there are now seven confirmed cases of the disease in Arizona. Currently, there are no cases in Coconino County, and as Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports, officials are urging people to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Measles starts as a fever with a cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash on the face that spreads to the rest of the body. People can infect others through the air making it highly contagious. Measles can sometimes result in death. Mare Schumacher is an epidemiologist at the Coconino County Public Health Services District.

“One of the important things to keep in mind about vaccinations, about immunization, is that you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re protecting other people. So you’re protecting maybe somebody who’s pregnant where you work, or a child,” Schumacher says.

Schumacher says one of the causes of the spike in cases over the last two years is an increase in people who choose not to vaccinate. She also says if a person suspects themselves, or their child, of having measles to not go directly to a doctor or a hospital, due to the risk of infecting other people.

“Call the health care provider first and say ‘I have a child’ or ‘I think I might have measles, and I just want to warn you that I am going to be coming there,’ and then they can prepare for your arrival,” Schumacher says.

People over the age of 59 are likely to be naturally immune to the virus, as they were alive when measles was a commonly experienced disease.

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