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‘Very safe vaccine:’ Measles outbreak spreads; pediatricians urge parents to get children immunized

WHITEFISH BAY -- As the nationwide outbreak of measles grows, local pediatricians warn that the infection is nearing Wisconsin. On Tuesday, April 9, Aurora Children's Health providers urged parents to take notice.

"It's back and it's a scary infection," said Dr. Kevin Dahlman, pediatrician and Aurora Children's Health medical director.

Dr. Kevin Dahlman says he's never seen a patient with measles, and he's been practicing for more than a decade.

"Around the year 2000, we thought it was gone from the U.S.," said Dr. Dahlman.

This year, the infection is making a comeback -- with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting 465 cases in 19 states so far.

Dr. Kevin Dahlman

"Not Wisconsin yet, but we know it's coming," said Dr. Dahlman.

That's why Aurora Children's Health providers, including Dr. Dahlman, are sounding the alarm to parents whose children aren't vaccinated.

"Because it's a devastating illness and it's preventable with a very, very safe vaccine," said Dr. Dahlman.

Dr. Dahlman says the infection is highly contagious -- and can be dangerous.

"It can go on and cause a pneumonia -- pretty significant pneumonia -- and in fact one in 1,000 kids with measles-type pneumonia dies from that pneumonia," said Dr. Dahlman.

He says the recent outbreak is undoubtedly caused by unvaccinated children.

"The larger the pool of unvaccinated people where measles can hide out, the more likely we are to see these spreads," said Dr. Dahlman.

MMR -- or Measles, mumps, and rubella -- is a two-dose vaccine that Dr. Dahlman says can provide life-long immunity.

"Vaccines are safe. I can tell you my own three children have been completely and totally vaccinated to the hilt," said Dr. Dahlman.

Dr. Dahlman also suggests that you check with your child's pediatrician to make sure their shot records are up to date.

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of measles by clicking HERE.

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