Chief Medical Officer advises vaccination best way to prevent disease
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — The measles are back.
Numerous cases have been recently reported in both the northwest and northeast parts of the U.S.
Hawaii reported two cases of measles from people who traveled from the state of Washington to the Aloha state.
According to Healthline.com, rubeola, commonly known as measles, is a viral infection of the respiratory system. It is a very contagious disease and an infected person can release the infection into the air when they cough or sneeze.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lawrence Vark said people infected would not know they are infected for several days.
“When you finally do show evidence of the virus, you will have respiratory symptoms such as cough, sneezing and sore throat,” he said. “Generally, a pretty significant rash will develop on the body.”
In some severe cases, the measles can affect organs and blood vessels.
“It can be fatal,” Vark said.
Vark said back in 2000 the Center for Disease Control said the measles virus had been eradicated.
“I believe they should have said there is no evidence of the active disease at this time,” he said. “Because measles maybe eradicated from the United States temporarily.”
Vark said measles is still active around the world.
“We are a global people,” he said. “Everyone travels everywhere.”
Vark said if a person from another country travels to the U.S. and comes into contact with an unvaccinated person, it could spread.
“Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world,” he said.
Vark said he has been in practice for over 35 years and has only saw two cases of the measles.
“And that was in training to become a doctor,” he said.
Vark said the outbreak that is occurring is the best reason for vaccination and prevention.
“The vaccine for the measles is incredibly effective,” he said.
He said there are people around the country that are anti-vaxxers.
“7.9 percent of the people in the state of Washington are not vaccinated,” Vark said.
Vark said a couple of decades ago there was a mistaken belief that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was linked to developmental disorders such as autism.
“There have been numerous studies and in everyone of them, there have been no association in having a vaccination and being afflicted with autism,” he said. “The study that was out there trying to link these together was an outright lie and does not prove anything.”
Vark said the measles vaccination is a series of two shots, one as an infant and one before children start school.
“Generally, that provides sufficient immunity,” he said.
Vark also said if an adult comes in and does not know if they have been vaccinated for the measles growing up, they can do a blood test to see if they have been.
“We can find out in their bloodstream if they are protected against the measles,” he said. “If not, we can take appropriate measures.”
Vark said his advice would be to treat measles as you would a cold when trying to disinfect an area.
“Wipe down surface areas, wash hands regularly and cover your mouth when you have a cough,” he said. “If you become sick do not go outside to public areas. Think of the other kids at school or your co-workers at work.
Vark said after two to three weeks the rash will completely disappear.