Measles Are On The Rise – The Myths & Facts About the MMR Vaccine

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Dr. Marta Katalenas discusses the dramatic rise of measles cases in the United States with Dr. Marisol Fernandez, a specialist in Pediatric Infectious Diseases in Austin, Texas.

"Now we have a large population that does not have immunity to provide protection and that creates a perfect scenario for countries that don’t have immunization." - Dr. Marisol Fernandez

The United Kingdom is in the middle of a measles epidemic which has prompted concern in the United States from pediatric health officials. Over 1,400 cases of measles were confirmed last year in the UK and in the U.S., the typical yearly number of cases more than doubled from 60 to 189 in 2013.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, this recent outbreak is the largest since 2000 with 28% of the cases bringing the measles from other countries and infecting unvaccinated people in the United States.

Many parents throughout the world fear the MMR vaccine due to the false claims that it is linked to autism. This theory has been proven false by recent research but the fear continues to prevent parents from immunizing their children, which is seen as the reason for the current outbreak.

Dr. Katalenas, a pediatrician in Austin, Texas recommends vaccinating all children to prevent disease. Katalenas recently consulted with Dr. Marisol Fernandez, a specialist in Pediatric Infectious Diseases in Austin, Texas.

Fernandez reassures parents that there is no correlation between autism and the MRR vaccine. The most likely neurological side effect from the vaccine is a febrile seizure, which won’t trigger autism. There have been studies conducted in 2004 and then in 2013 that disprove the correlation.

“The people that had measles remember the complications that ranged from fever, red eyes, and cough that would develop into pneumonia, lung infection and involvement of the brain and death. Even though we don’t see many cases they still occur, even in the United States. So continuation of the vaccine is very important and critical to keep these potential diseases under control”

Parents also fear that a child will contract the MMR vaccine after receiving the vaccine. After injecting the vaccine, the body creates antibodies that will protect from the vaccine. Fernandez tells parents that children with normal immune systems will not get the disease from the vaccine.

Fernandez has encountered parents who don’t vaccinate their children as a way of building their children’s immune systems. She recommends that every child be vaccinated since the side effects from contracting measles can be dangerous, including death.

About Dr. Katalenas
Dr. Marta Katalenas is a board certified pediatrician and owner of the Pediatric Center of Round Rock. She is a public speaker and author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.

The full text of the interview with Dr. Fernandez can be found on

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Melissa Shea
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