Measles outbreak vaccine

Image: Justin Sullivan / Staff

Measles in SC

Growing concern

April 25, 2019 - 3:49 pm

Health officials in South Carolina have growing concern that measles could make a comeback in the state.  That's because the number of children not getting immunized is growing.

South Carolina’s DHEC requires all South Carolina students to have the measles vaccine prior to entry into kindergarten through 12th grade.  But this school year, (2018-2019,) there are some 11,154 students in South Carolina who received a religious or medical exemption for immunizations.  Doctors think that false claims on the internet about vaccines causing autism have gotten parents wrongfully concerned.  The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the MMR vaccine is safe and effective. 

In Greenville County, there were 2178 kids or 2.48% of the student population that did not get vaccinated this year, but are attending school.  Spartanburg County had 1,608 exemptions or 3.17% of the student population.  It's been increasing every year, too.  You can see DHEC's full chart.

Close up if the measles virus
Image: CDC via Getty Images
22 states have reported measles cases including nearby Georgia, with New York and Washington having large outbreaks.  More than 550 cases have been reported since January and area health officials say it’s only a matter of time before there are cases in the Palmetto State.  Last year, there were multiple measles cases reported in Spartanburg County.  

New measles figures are expected to be released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention next week.

The states with reported cases of measles are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease spread by an infected person when he or she coughs or sneezes. Symptoms of the measles are typically fever, cough and a runny nose, followed by a rash.  Measles complications can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis or even death.

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