Local 9-Month-Old Diagnosed With Measles - WSMV Channel 4

Local 9-Month-Old Diagnosed With Measles

Updated: April 25, 2011

Like most every other parent, Keshia Lee cares about the health of her baby.


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"(I) make sure they're up-to-date with their shots, make sure they won't, you know, get sick," she said.

So for her and many, the news a local baby has measles is troubling. A doctor diagnosed it April 14. The patient, 9 months old, was returning to Middle Tennessee from overseas.

What is most troubling for one doctor is a decision made well before the family traveled.

"Well, it's concerning to me that there are a lot of families that are choosing not to immunize, and as a result, there is a higher proportion of people that may be at risk for getting these diseases," said Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Symptoms include a fever, runny nose, cough and large rash.

"We forget about the measles, because here in this country, measles is extremely rare, and it's always associated with someone traveling overseas and bringing it back with them," said Dr. Kelly Moore of the Tennessee Immunization Program.

Babies should receive their first measles/mumps/rubella vaccine at 1 year old, possibly earlier if traveling to an area where the disease is more prevalent.

"We don't see it that often," said Wyche-Etheridge, "and so as people move around the world a lot more, a lot of these infections are moving around also."

That's why Lee said she plans to vaccinate her children -- realizing the risk is worth the hassle.
"I don't want my kids to be sick. I like to keep everything up-to-date," she said.

The state Department of Health won't identify the baby but did say doctors are working with the family to make sure they don't become sick as well. Again, the state emphasized there is no risk to public health.

This is the third case of measles in the state this year, all connected to international travel. The CDC has additional information and advice for parents on its web site.

Expectant parents can learn about immunization and other ways to give their newborn a good start at the Metro Health Department's free annual Incredible Baby Shower. It will be Thursday from 1-5 p.m. at the Gentry Center on the campus of Tennessee State University.

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