Fewer vaccinations would skyrocket cases of measles in Southwest Florida

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Flu season vaccination. Photo via AP.
FILE: An unvaccinated 6-year-old Oregon boy was hospitalized for two months for tetanus and almost died of the bacterial illness. Photo via AP.

Measles outbreaks through the country over the past few months have infected more than 700 people. In Florida, the Department of Health has only confirmed two cases this year.

But, vaccination rates in Florida are dropping. That is putting us at risk for a health disaster.

It is called the Fred Florida Measles Simulator. The software shows how quickly the disease would move given current vaccination rates, which is not fast. There are 18 cases after nine months.

But, the software shows how quickly measles can spread if our school vaccinations drop by a hypothetical 10 percent. It starts in Downtown Fort Myers, then moves over the river to Cape Coral and takes over Lehigh Acres. It continues all the way down the coast to Bonita Springs with more than 8,000 cases after nine months.

Dr. Camille Sabella, a pediatric infectious disease physician, explains how it progresses.

“It usually starts out with some cold symptoms, some coughing, red eyes,” Dr. Sabella said. “Then they quickly develop high fever, 104, 105, then they usually begin to actually have this bright red rash.”

If the symptoms untreated in kids, he said the best way to prevent an outbreak like this and keep your kids safe is to vaccinate.

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