Measles more susceptible to spreading in South Florida due to tourists, doctors say

CDC confirms 100 measles cases in 10 states

By Trent Kelly - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants the public to know the facts about measles after more cases of the virus have been confirmed.

"Measles is a real problem. It can be a real problem in a community where enough kids are not vaccinated," said Dr. Fernando Mendoza, director of Baptist Children’s Hospital Emergency Center. "The complications of measles is significant. About one in 20 kids will get pneumonia from measles and need to be hospitalized, and one in 1,000 kids will actually die."

Health care professionals held a special discussion Tuesday at Baptist Hospital of Miami in Kendall, reminding parents about dangers of the disease, which was once thought to be eradicated.

"In 2,000, we had essentially eradicated measles in the U.S.," Mendoza said. "That doesn't mean eliminated completely, but the cases that popped up we were able to control. They were very sporadic. Since 2,000 onward, we've seen increasing pockets of outbreaks."

Since the start of the year, the CDC has identified more than 100 individual cases of measles across 10 states.

Doctors say the disease is more susceptible to spreading in South Florida -- a region that’s popular with tourists.

"We have a pretty high vaccination rate among school-aged kids here in Florida," Mendoza said. "The problem is we are really a vacation spot. Two-thirds of all measles cases in the U.S. are actually contracted from going out of the country and them coming back in, or through outside travelers."

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