California measles cases spark immunization discussions in Utah

Published: Tuesday, April 8 2014 11:55 p.m. MDT

She doesn't describe herself as being against vaccinating children. For now, she has control of the environment of her 2 ½-year-old and 6-month-old. Hoggan said she and her husband will discuss vaccines when their children are old enough for school.

"Vaccines have helped so much with epidemics of so many different diseases," she said. "But sometimes I think that it's a little excessive."

Stevenson said vaccines are the best way to prevent disease, especially when it comes to measles.

"Measles in particular is about 90 percent contagious," she said. "So if you have an individual who's not been vaccinated and they get exposed to a person with measles, there is a very high likelihood that they're going to contract the disease."

Stevenson said a number of vaccines are given to children in their first two years of life.

"We don't have many families in Utah that choose not to vaccinate their children," she said. "The exemption rate hovers around 3 percent here in Salt Lake County."

Utah ranked 12th in the nation for the number of 2-year-olds fully immunized, according to the state's 2013 Immunization Coverage Report.

With an immunity level of 90 percent, Stevenson said there is going to be far less disease spread within those communities.

"Many of these diseases have very serious consequences, including measles," she said. "And so our recommendation is that individuals protect themselves and protect others by being vaccinated."

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com

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