Health Officials Warn Against Measles Parties

Rumors of measles parties have health officials concerned.

"To catch the infection and put the whole community at risk, this is a bad thing," Dr. Anil Gajare, a Pediatrician at the Community Healthcare Center said.

This kind of party was popular in the 1950's and the 1960's before the MMR vaccine was available.  Since it is available, Dr. Gajare said parents should get their kids vaccinated.

"It's not a mild disease," he said, "It's a bad disease."

Dr. Gajare explained the biggest concern for parents is the side effects.  He said this could be why parents choose to opt out of getting the vaccine for their kids.

"There were repeated studies done, not just in the U.S.," he said, "In Australia, in Canada, in the U.K. trying to link up autism with the MMR vaccine and they couldn't."

He said kids would gain immunity from the measles if they were exposed to it at a party.  However, he said there is a higher risk of them developing complications.  This could include pneumonia, brain swelling, ear infections, and more.

"Eventually that might kill someone," Dr. Gajare said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are 121 cases of the measles in 17 states in this outbreak. 

"If it goes outside in the real world, it will spread like a wildfire," Dr. Gajare said.

He said nine out of ten kids in contact with someone who is infected will catch it.

Many Texomans talked about this issue on the Newschannel 6 Facebook page.  Many people wrote stating the idea of a measles party is crazy.  One person wrote, "I would not hold a measles party to infect my child.  I think it's reckless and could endanger your child."

So, like many Texomans posted, they said kids need to get vaccinated.

Dr. Gajare said you have to be at least six months to get the vaccination.  All you need is two doses and you can be protected within one month.

He also said the people most likely to die from the deadly disease are under the age of five and 45 and older.  He explained this is because they have a weaker immune system.

If you're not sure if you are immune to the measles, there is a simple blood test you can take.  Health officials said you just need to contact your doctor to set it up.

There is very important for people born between 1957 and 1971.  To get more information on the age gap where health officials said they aren't sure if if the vaccine was as effective, click here.

, Newschannel 6