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Once on the brink of extinction, measles continues comeback

PHOENIX — A disease that was on the brink of extinction continues its comeback.

Measles was eliminated from the United States in 2000. KTAR News 92.3 FM medical expert Dr. Terry Simpson says science won with smallpox and had measles on the run.

“That was until anti-vaccination groups got hold of it and said it was responsible for X, Y, Z. All have been disproved,” Simpson said. “We had a disease almost eliminated and now it’s back. There’s a whole group of people whose vaccinations have lapsed or they never received the vaccine at all, so anybody is game.”

By early August there had been more than 1,100 cases of measles reported in the United States this year, the highest number since 1992.

It’s one of the most contagious viruses on earth and can be deadly for adults.

“Most people who get measles develop a rash, maybe a cough, but most people won’t have much happen to them,” Simpson said. “It’s the 2-5% that develop lung infection from the measles or develop measles in the brain that is of most concern.”

Simpson says people who were first vaccinated in the 1960s against measles should get a booster now. Some of the early vaccines weren’t terribly effective, and the new vaccines are.

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