American Academy Of Pediatrics President Urges Parents To Vaccinate Their Children Against Measles

As the measles outbreak linked to Disneyland continues to spread, pediatricians are deeply concerned about the children who have been infected, and those who are at risk because they have not been vaccinated. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to make sure their children have received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

"As the measles outbreak linked to Disneyland continues to

s

pread

, pediatricians are deeply concerned about the children who have been infected, and those who are at risk because they have not been vaccinated. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to make sure their children have received the measles, mumps and rubella

(MMR)

vaccine. W

hile

it

is best to get the vaccine as soon as your child reaches the recommended age, it is never too late to

get your

children caught up so they can

receive the vaccine and

be fully

protected.

"We know from many repeated studies that the MMR vaccine is safe and effective. It is in fact one of the most effective vaccines we have. And as the measles outbreak has shown, this virus is incredibly contagious.

If you have not been immunized against measles and come near an infected person, you have a 90 percent chance of getting measles.

An infected person may not show symptoms for four days -- meanwhile

he or she

can expose dozens of other people they encounter in daily life, at the park, grocery store, school, and other places where children commonly are. Measles affects all organs of the body, and can cause

serious and in some cases life-threatening

complications in children including

pneumonia and

encephalitis

.

When measles was more common in the U.S., hundreds of children died from this virus every year.

"The fact that this disease has resurfaced for the first time in more than a decade has prompted pediatricians

to

reiterate the same

recommendation to parents that we’ve made for decades with renewed urgency:

Vaccines work.

Delaying your child's vaccines, or refusing the vaccine, leaves your child vulnerable to this invisible threat

. A

nd it puts other children in the community at risk

.

"Some children cannot be vaccinated because of problems with their immune system, or because they are too young to be vaccinated. It is heartbreaking to know that these vulnerable children may be at risk if

parents refuse or delay getting the

i

r children vaccin

at

ed

,

allowing

communit

y

immunization rates

to

fall below

the

rates

necessary to protect the whole community

. To protect your own child, as well as the other children in your community, make the decision to vaccinate your child. If

you have

questions about measles or vaccines, we encourage you to talk with your child's pediatrician."

To help parents, the AAP has also assembled

these

resources:

HealthyChildren.org: How to Protect Your Children During a Measles Outbreak,

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/How-to-Protect-Your-Children-During-A-Measles-Outbreak.aspx

Healthy Children Radio: Interview with Dr. Kathryn Edwards, member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases,

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Healthy-Children-Radio-Measles-Audio.aspx

News release: AAP urges parents to vaccinate children to protect against measles,

http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Urges-Parents-to-Vaccinate-Children-to-Protect-Against-Measles.aspx

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org or follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.