Area Doctors Monitoring Measles Outbreak

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- Health officials call it a crisis: the measles, an infectious disease that causes a fever and a red rash.

It can be fatal.

Doctors say babies and toddlers are among those with the least protection.

"It is a national outbreak and it is concerning from pediatricians, American Academy of Pediatricians and the CDC," said Dr. Tapash Sengupta of Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital.

Dr. Sengupta is a pediatrician. He said some parents are worried.

According to the state health department, there are no confirmed cases of the measles in Pennsylvania this year, but that could change.

Government officials said measles was eliminated from the United States in 2000 but the disease made a comeback because of people who do not vaccinate themselves or their children.

"I think if it's not contained, I think it's really going to be a major epidemic," said Mike Weinhofer of Bloomsburg.

"When it comes to the vaccinations and all that, anybody who doesn't vaccinate in my opinion is crazy," said Miro Kaderka of Bloomsburg.

Most children get that first vaccination to protect against the measles known as the MMR between 12 and 15 months old.

Then doctors say they get a second MMR between 4 and 6 years old.

"If we can vaccinate we can give you 100 percent guarantee it will not be lethal and people will not die from that disease," said Dr. Sengupta.

Doctors say the good news that both MMR vaccines have a 97 to 99 percent protection rate against the measles.

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