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How experts say Colorado can avoid a measles outbreak

SOUTHERN COLORADO – President Donald Trump is urging everyone to get a measles vaccine as the outbreak continues to grow.

Here in Colorado, similar concerns exist.

Public health officials say the best way to prevent an outbreak from affecting us is to either get vaccinated – or find out if you’re immune.

“It starts out with a high fever and with a cough and runny nose. and then about three to five days later from there, you would develop a rash,”  explained Kimberly Pattison, the program manager for the Communicable Diseases Division at El Paso County Public Health Department.

Thankfully, in Colorado, no outbreaks have surfaced – yet.

“We just saw one case over the last year, and then that case didn’t spread to others,” Pattison added.

But Pattison sys to contain it, folks need to do their part by either vaccinating their children or making sure they’re immune themselves.

“For El Paso County kindergarteners, we have just a little bit over 83-percent are up to date with their MMR vaccine,” she said.
“Unfortunately, that’s concerning because it does compare to Clark County, Washington where they have an active outbreak of measles.”

“Any Lab Test Now” in Colorado Springs offers a simple blood test to check for immunity.

“A Measles titer [is] a simple blood test, you get those levels back to find out whether or not you are immune,” said Amy Neary with Any Lab Test Now.

The biggest obstacle is protecting folks from a disease that can spread so easily.

“If you have one person who has measles and you put them in a room with 100 people who are not immune, you would expect about 90 of those people to come down with the disease,” Pattison pointed out.
“It’s extremely, extremely contagious.”

The measles vaccine comes in two doses.
One after a child’s first birthday, and the other before kindergarten.

El Paso County Public Health offers free and low-cost vaccines.
Their clinic’s contact info can be found here.

Jessica Barreto

Jessica Barreto

Jessica is a general assignment reporter at KOAA News 5. She joined the news team in November 2017.
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