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University of Kentucky infectious disease specialist warns of measles comeback

Dr. Nicholas Van Sickels is the director of infection prevention and control at UK HealthCare.
UK HealthCare
Dr. Nicholas Van Sickels is the director of infection prevention and control at UK HealthCare.

An infectious disease specialist at the University of Kentucky has just written a column about the dangers of measles. Dr. Nicholas Van Sickels is the director of infection prevention and control at UK HealthCare. He said vaccination rates in the U.S. have fallen and post-COVID pandemic, travel has increased. As a result, cases of the highly infectious and potentially dangerous disease are on the rise.

“Most people recover just fine. However, for quite a bit of time after you have measles, your immune system doesn't work as well. So you have a higher risk of lung infections, GI infections, you can get complications after measles like pneumonias, and ear infections.”

Van Sickels said some people develop serious brain problems 7 to 20 years after having measles. He said as of April 25, at least 125 measles cases have been reported in the U.S. – twice as many as all of last year. He said the best medicine is prevention.

“The vaccines rolled out in the 60s. But they're not new. They've been around for decades. We have tons of data on them. They're very safe and extremely effective and preventing measles.”

Van Sickels said Kentucky’s vaccination rate is nearly two percentage points lower than the national average – and folks with questions should talk to their doctor or pediatrician.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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