Local doctor gives advice on how to avoid measles as number of cases in U.S. continues to grow

Published: Apr. 29, 2019 at 4:16 PM CDT
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Measles cases in the United States are the highest they've been 25 years and expected to continue to rise.

So far, Nebraska has been able to steer clear of the virus. That's not the same case for Iowa.

CDC data shows there are more than 700 measles cases in 22 states.

"It's important not to worry, but it's important to be preventative," Dr. Renugga Vivekanandan, an infectious disease specialist at CHI Health said.

She said the easiest way to prevent measles is to vaccinate.

According to the CDC, the majority of those who have become sick this year are children who did not receive the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) shot.

"You build immunity, and when you're exposed to the virus you're able to fight the infection," Vivekanandan said.

She said the virus is contagious enough that it can stay in a room for about two hours after an infected person has left. If 10 people without the vaccine were in that room, nine of them would catch the illness.

"I also practice what I preach. I have a four-year-old and a two-year-old, so they're all up to date. They have the MMR vaccine as well," Vivekanandan said.

The two doses of the MMR vaccine are mandatory for children.

Some adults might even want to consider getting the vaccine. Find out if you should be concerned by visiting the