HEALTH

Rise in measles outbreaks draws concern among Utah doctors

Apr 2, 2024, 10:41 PM | Updated: Apr 3, 2024, 2:32 pm

WEST POINT, Davis County —  The number of measles cases is on the rise.

We’re already seeing more outbreaks across the U-S this year than in all of 2023.

It’s enough to draw some concern among Utah doctors and epidemiologists.

It’s fairly routine for family doctors, for patients to get their kids vaccinated starting at 12 to 15 months. But with 97 reported cases so far there is concern that some people are falling through the cracks.

Doctors like Bryce Galbraith, deal with vaccinations all the time that protect more than the ones getting the shots.

“There are people that are immunocompromised and then there’s also those that haven’t been vaccinated completely yet,” Galbraith said.

In recent years he seems to be getting more questions at his West Point clinic than in the past.

Galbraith said, “Totally natural to have those hesitations.”

He’s happy to answer those questions but when measles cases spike like we’re seeing right now, with cases reported across seventeen states, the closest to us in Arizona.

“It worries me about the community because then you see pockets of where this can have outbreaks and it can make it potentially dangerous for more than just small pockets of people,” Galbraith said.

We have had much larger spikes in the US. well over 1,000 in 2019.

Ogden clinic

The Ogden Clinic in West Point offers vaccinations. (KSL TV, Mike Anderson)

“So, while it’s not unprecedented, the number of cases that we have been seeing this year, compared to previous years, it is a little concerning that we’re seeing such high numbers and we’re only in April,” Galbraith explained.

Pamela Gomez is a respiratory disease epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.

She pointed out that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is safe and has a 97%% effectiveness rate.

She said it’s important to be protected and be aware of the symptoms which can be as simple as a high fever, cough, or runny nose leading to a rash three to five days later.

Galbraith said always feel free to talk to your physician and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “I love it when patients come in with questions because the more informed they are and the more we can talk about things and it makes it better for everybody.”

Gomez added that washing your hands and practicing good hygiene is also important.

Though not likely, you can get measles even if you’ve had the vaccine.

She said complications from the vaccine are rare.

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Rise in measles outbreaks draws concern among Utah doctors