Dr. Kathleen Riley of Randolph Medical Associates – Pediatrics was recently quoted in an article published by The Asheboro Courier-Tribune:
Parents Are Urged to be Pro-active About Measles
By J.D. Walker, January 30, 2015
ASHEBORO — From Jan. 1-30, 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles. Most of these cases are part of a large, ongoing multi-state outbreak linked to exposures at DisneyLand in California.
Should parents in Randolph County be worried?
Dr. Kathleen Riley, a pediatrician with Randolph Health Pediatrics, said having children immunized against childhood diseases is always important. However, the likelihood of an outbreak of measles in North Carolina is hard to predict.
The risk is highest for those who are exposed to people who haven’t been immunized and those traveling to areas where there are large populations that have not been immunized, she said.
Not too long ago, U.S. health officials were touting the demise of measles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, measles is a highly infectious, airborne disease that typically begins with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, and within a few days a red rash appears, usually first on the face and then spreading downward to the rest of the body.
CDC reports measles is usually a mild or moderately severe illness. However, it can result in complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis and death. Post-infectious encephalitis may occur approximately one per 1,000 reported measles cases. Approximately two to three deaths may occur for every 1,000 reported measles cases.
Two doses of measles-containing vaccine, or MMR vaccine, are more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles. Riley said, the problem is, some parents have decided their child is no longer at risk. She said they fear adverse effects from the vaccine or simply don’t like to think about putting a cocktail of chemicals into their children’s bodies.
Riley said she has about 20 parents who have asked for a personal exemption from having their children immunized.
Arey Rash, Randolph County Health Department nursing supervisor, said, at one time, she could count on one hand the number of exemptions issued in the county. Now, she said, 130 children in the county have either a religious or medical exemption. She said 63 percent of all children in the county, ages 1-18 years, have received two MMR vaccines, according to her records.
Riley said fears of the MMR and other vaccines are unfounded. Over and over again, vaccines have been proven to be safe. Over and over again, fear-mongering on the Internet and other sources about the alleged danger of vaccines have been proven to be wrong.
In particular, Riley said an oft-cited European study that linked autism to the MMR vaccine has been totally debunked. She said the study author based his conclusions on a review of only eight cases and manipulated the evidence. She said he was stripped of his title and status as a researcher.
But this and other misleading information lives on, online. Riley said parents need to understand that nothing is 100 percent.
“Vaccines do have a small risk. But giving birth carries a small risk. Driving a car carries a risk, but no one is staying at home, not driving a car,” she said.
Riley said parents need to trust their physician. They need to discuss their concerns with their doctor and make decisions based on facts, not rumors, not secondhand information and not unsubstantiated information from an unknown Internet source.
She advises her clients to be pro-active, too.“
Don’t be shy about asking your friends if their children, the children your child plays with, have been vaccinated,” she said. “Ask at the daycare or preschool program your child attends what their policy is on accepting children without vaccinations.”
Knowing can make the difference in the health of your child.
Click on the following link to read the article as published by The Asheboro Courier-Tribune: