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Health officials: Measles could be headed to Wisconsin as outbreak expected to worsen

MILWAUKEE -- The number of measles cases around the United States continues to rise, with the number expected to reach record levels by the end of the week. While no cases had been reported in Wisconsin as of Wednesday, April 23, health officials said it may only be a matter of time.

Neighboring states like Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan have all reported measles cases this year. Medical experts said people who aren't vaccinated, including babies under 1 year who are too young for measles vaccinations are at especially high risk because so many families are traveling for spring break.

Mary Rinnert said she's relieved her daughter received her first shot four months ago.

Mary Rinnert

"So we weren't as concerned," Rinnert said. "I think now, I mean, there's just so much talk about it now. It's concerning, just knowing those cases are becoming more and more prevalent."

Preliminary data out Wednesday, April 24, shows the number of measles cases so far in 2019, has surpassed 2014's record 667 confirmed cases for the entire year -- marking the highest level in decades.

Platt, the supervising nurse at the North Shore Health Department, attributed the increase to fewer people getting vaccinated. She said when an unvaccinated person comes home after traveling abroad, where measles has not been eradicated, they expose others who are susceptible to the highly contagious and serious disease.

Kathleen Platt

"It's scary for those children under a year, like my grandson, and for those people who can't be vaccinated because of immunosuppression," said Pratt.

Parents Jordan Kobylinski and Armandina Kluge said they opted not to vaccinate their toddlers.

"I was raised up on natural medicine and natural healing," said Kobylinski.

They said they're reconsidering their decision, given the latest warning.

"It is kind of scary. It is definitely something to keep in mind and do more research on," said Kluge.

Although there have been no confirmed cases in Wisconsin yet, local health officials are working closely with area schools to keep track of students who aren't vaccinated, and also posting information online and in clinics about the measles.

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