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Mon, May 20

Recent measles outbreak shows need for vaccines

The recent outbreak of measles in unvaccinated children, including a 10-month-old, and several adults in Tucson started with an unvaccinated adult airline traveler from Switzerland. Measles is a virus that spreads easily from person to person though respiratory droplets when an infected person talks or coughs. Many people today do not know the symptoms of measles because most people living in the United States have had the benefit of a vaccine to prevent them from getting sick if they are ever exposed to the virus. In 2004, there were only 37 cases of measles in the United States. Prior to 1963, when vaccination for measles became routine in the United States, as many as 500 deaths a year were due to measles.

Babies are born with some ability to resist diseases because of antibodies that are passed along to the child from the mother during the last two months of pregnancy. However, American children under the age of 2 can receive vaccines that will protect them from 14 diseases.

April 19-26 is Infant Immunization Week across the country to encourage parents and caregivers to check with their child's doctor or healthcare provider to find out what vaccines young child need to reduce their risk of serious illnesses.

The recommended immunization schedules for children through age 18 are approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/acip), the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (www.aafp.org).

When parents decide to get the recommended vaccinations for their child, they are not only protecting their child but many others. Vaccines help lower the amount of disease that can spread through a community. Some children do not get vaccines because of medical or other reasons. If an outbreak happens and they are exposed, they are unprotected.

Don't be afraid to ask your child's doctor about vaccines.

Review the schedule of vaccines posted online at www.cdc.gov/vaccines or call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information on immunizations. Healthcare providers may give some vaccines in multiple doses over a specific period of months to achieve the best protection against that disease.

Immunizations for children are available at Yavapai County Community Health Services by appointment or at our weekly walk-in clinics. Call 583-1000 to schedule an appointment in Prescott/Prescott Valley/Chino Valley or call (928) 639-8132 for an appointment in Cottonwood.

Weekly walk-in clinics for childhood immunizations are offered at YCCHS health centers from 8 to 11 a.m. Fridays in Cottonwood at 10 South 6th St.; from 8 to 11 a.m. Fridays in Prescott at 1090 Commerce Drive; and from 8 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays in Prescott Valley at 3212 N. Windsong Drive.

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