Measles vaccines offered
Davidson County health officials have joined those across the state urging people who may have been exposed to measles to get a vaccination.
Fourteen measles cases and one suspect case have been identified throughout the state. Several of them have links to the Triad.
Local public health departments are contacting people who might have been exposed to offer vaccinations. The Davidson County Health Department will vaccinate people for measles who are not up-to-date on their vaccinations.
“Measles is very uncommon in North Carolina, so many people aren’t aware of the symptoms,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, state health director. “Measles spreads quickly, particularly in children and adults who aren’t vaccinated. We want to make the public aware of this outbreak so individuals can take steps to protect themselves and their families.”
Measles can lead to pneumonia and other complications, especially in young children. The disease poses serious risks for pregnant women, including miscarriage and premature birth. Patients should call their doctor’s office or health care facility before going so they can prepare for the visit and protect other patients from exposure.
“We have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough over the past few years. It is crucial for infants and children to get the shots they need,” said Merle Green, Guilford County health director. “Recently, we have had whooping cough cases in our immediate area therefore; we need to send a strong message to parents to ensure they are getting their children in for shots according to the prescribed schedule.”
Health officials observed National Infant Immunization Week earlier this month.
The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to eligible children.
“Infants should receive DTaP, the vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, or whooping cough, at 2, 4 and 6, and 12 and 15 months and again between 4 and 5 years of age,” said Vonda Pabon, RN and nurse manager for the Guilford County Department of Public Health. Rising 6th graders need a Tdap booster before entering school.”
There are several reasons why you should have your children immunized for measles and other diseases, according to the health department:
1. Saving lives. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction.
2. Vaccination is very safe and effective. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.
3. Protecting others you care about. Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases.
4. Saving your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or day care facilities.
Measles: A highly contagious disease spread through the air by coughing and sneezing and contact with secretions from the nose or mouth of an infected person. Symptoms may include fever, runny nose, watery red eyes and cough. After a few days, a rash appears on the head and spreads over the entire body.
Vaccination: People can either walk in at the Davidson County Health Department and receive the vaccine or call for an appointment at 242-2510. There is no charge for the vaccine. The Guilford County Department of Public Health offers childhood vaccinations by appointment weekdays from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (336) 641-3245.