2014 is already setting a 20 year high for cases of the measles in the U.S. Experts point to international travelers who caught the virus overseas then spread it among unvaccinated patients at home.
"When they go to Walmart, when they go to daycare, when they go to kindergarten, when they go out into the world." Just a few of the challenges to your child's developing immune system, according to Freeman Pediatrician Beth Garrett. She's concerned about kids whose parents are choosing not to immunize for the measles, putting them at risk. "When I'm vaccinating a child, I'm not only vaccinating that child, but I'm hoping to protect the child next to them. Maybe the child who has cancer and can't receive the MMR vaccine because of immuno-suppression from chemotherapy. It's called herd immunity and it's really important. And that's what helps keep our nation healthy and keeps our children healthy and makes them safe to go to places like kindergarten."
Dr. Garrett understands when a parent is concerned about vaccinating their child - but she believes the risks of the measles or other diseases is much worse. "As a pediatrician, unfortunately we've had the opportunity to see what happens when children don't get vaccinated. And we've seen vaccine preventable illness cause severe illness in children that were previously healthy. I've seen heartbreak from whooping cough, pneumococcal meningitis, tetanus and those things are preventable."