CDC sees spike in measles cases

by: Diana Davis Updated:

Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta say they have seen a troubling spike in measles cases.

ATLANTA - Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta say they have seen a troubling spike in measles cases.

It's a disease that was thought to be gone in the United States.

Channel 2's Diana Davis was at the CDC on Thursday when its director issued a warning for parents.

Measles is something most Americans under the age of 50 have never seen.

The measles vaccine was developed fifty years ago. In the U.S., measles went from infecting just about every child at some point to virtually affecting none at all.

Busy Atlanta pediatrician Dr. Robert Wiskind has never even seen a measles case.

"And that is true for my generation and the next generation of physicians, and it's certainly true for parents. There are so many parents who are not afraid of measles because they've never seen it," Wiskind said.

On the 50th anniversary of the development of the measles vaccine its inventor, Dr. Samuel Katz and the director of the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden, had a warning.

There's been an uptick this year in U.S. cases of measles.

"We've seen a spike this year -- 175 cases and counting as of Nov. 30, nine outbreaks, including three large ones," said Frienden.

No deaths in the U.S. have been reported so far, but the outbreaks are a worrisome trend.

According to Frieden, "It is probably the single-most infectious of all infectious diseases."

Almost all the cases in U.S. are among children whose parents refuse to vaccinate them.

Measles is coming into the U.S. and infecting unprotected kids from countries where measles is more common.

CDC doctors emphasize the cases of measles in the U.S. aren't from Third World countries but from places Americans travel all the time, such as Europe.

The mother of a 15-month-old baby made sure his shots were up to date. The family is about to leave for Denmark.

Some other parents refuse to vaccinate their kids for religious reasons or fears the vaccine is dangerous.

Doctors say it is safe and that persistent rumors of links to autism have been conclusively proven false. That is why mom Stephanie McCall told Davis she makes sure all of her child's vaccines are up to date.

"I trust the experts. I'm not a doctor so I figure that they are leading my children in the right direction," McCall said.