Nightly News   |  August 27, 2013

Measles outbreak strikes North Texas

More than 20 cases of measles have originated at a mega church in North Texas, traced to a visitor who had traveled overseas. There have been 161 cases of measles in 16 states so far this year, nearly triple the number in 2012. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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>>> we're back now with news about measles, a virus declared all but wiped out more than a decade ago in this country but making a troubling comeback. the latest outbreak is centered on a mega church near ft. worth texas, at least 21 cases have originated there, including 14 children, the youngest just 14 months old. why is this happening now and what do parents need to know? here's chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman .

>> reporter: julian aguilera is getting his measles shot, a quick pinch to the arm and a lollipop later he's all smiles. it's a relief to his mom too.

>> you don't want your kids to get sick.

>> reporter: measles is making a comeback, and the latest outbreak in north texas . at least 16 of the cases were not fully vaccinated.

>> someone who actually had the disease in july, had come back from a country where measles is more common, ink baiting the disease, became sick here and other people got it.

>> across the country there have been 161 cases of measles in 16 states so far this year. that's nearly triple the number in 2012 . while nine out of the ten children old enough to receive vaccinations get them. a pediatrician is concerned about the growing number of families who are opting out for nonmedical reasons.

>> it's more middle class , upper middle class , people are deciding they're afraid of vaccines. they bought the idea that autism is connected with mmr, and that's a lie.

>> reporter: health officials say well intentioned parents who choose not to vaccinate are needlessly putting their children and communities at risk. measles is so contagious, that if one person has it, the cdc says 90% of the people who are not fully immunized and come in close contact to that person will also get the infection.

>> maybe if they lived remotely on an island somewhere, that would work, but we don't.

>> vaccinations have been so successful over the last few decades. for a lot of young couples who forget that these illnesses can have a resurgence and they can kill. a reminder that vaccinations can protect not only your child, but they take care of your community too. lester?