Measles outbreak rekindles vaccine talk

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After a case of measles was confirmed late last week in the Portland metropolitan area, the issue of vaccination once again arose.

This case was traced to a Seattle youth with measles who recently played in a junior tennis tournament in Portland and Beaverton. He also visited area stores in very public settings.

Providence physician's assistant Lynn Vandehey-Thomas, Aug. 28, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Providence physician’s assistant Lynn Vandehey-Thomas, Aug. 28, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

Providence physician’s assistant Lynn Vandehey-Thomas said the virus is highly contagious and can lead to pneumonia or death.

“Just like any other cold infection, it’s spread through drops of mucus, coughs, sneezes,” she told KOIN 6 News.

She said the key to prevention is the measles vaccine.

A lack of vaccinations might be behind an outbreak at a north Texas megachurch whose founder preached against vaccines. This week, the church’s pastor encouraged members to pray about it.

“If you are somebody and you know that you know that you know that you’ve got this covered in your household by faith and it crosses your heart of faith then don’t go do it,” Pastor Terri Pearsons of Eagle Mountain International Church said in a CBS report.

Pearsons, whose father is televangelist Kenneth Copeland, expressed her own doubts about vaccines because of concerns with an autism connection. However, studies from both the Centers for Disease Control and the Institute of Medicine have concluded there is no link whatsoever between vaccines and autism.

With the measles vaccine, a person typically gets two doses as a young child. That’s all that’s needed.

“If you’re not sure as an adult, you can easily get an appointment with your provider and you can have testing to see if you’ve received it,” Vandehey-Thomas said. “It won’t hurt to get the vaccination again.”

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