How the measles outbreak is affecting babies and the most vulnerable

May 21, 2019

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Rose was born with Down’s Syndrome, and choanal atresia, a genetic defect that made it very hard for her to breath when she was first born. This past winter, Rose had to spend almost a month in the hospital after she caught an infection in her lungs. And while her mom Stacy Feyer-Salo says Rose is doing a lot better, she says knowing that there is a measles outbreak in Michigan means their family has to take extra precautions. 

“First thing, I did after I walked in the door was sanitize my hands. first thing I do before I touch Rose is I use hand sanitizer and for probably the last couple months I wouldn’t come to this café if it was this busy.”  

When Rose was in the hospital, her mom was afraid to go out in public because of how weak Rose’s immune system was at the time.  Rose is considered immunocompromised – which means her immune system has to works harder to fight off infections compared to other babies her age.

“So those who are immunocompromised are going to be much more at risk for getting some of these complications from measles – that can be more serious for their health.”

That’s Doctor Nirali Bora from the Kent County Health Department. She says anyone who is immunocompromised has to rely on herd immunity to keep healthy.  

“The more people in the community that are immunized the less chance there is for a disease like measles to pass through the community. If we start getting holes in herd immunity, like there are groups and pockets of people that are no longer immunized its much easier for this disease to start traveling through.” 

But as more and more people choose not to receive the vaccination, Rose and those like her are put at risk for getting measles.  This year, the U.S has its highest number of measles cases in 25 years. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News