Officials: No cases of measles in West Virginia in 10 years

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (WDTV)-- Since January of this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there have been 465 confirmed cases of measles in 19 states.

This is the second largest amount of cases in the U.S. since it was eliminated in 2000. West Virginia, however, hasn't had a case in 10 years.

"It's actually crazier that we're getting these cases, in the other parts of the U.S., now. That's because there are other states that don't have as strict vaccines laws as we do and there are pockets of people who are not getting their children vaccinated," said MaryWade Triplett with the Monongalia County Health Department.

According to the state's Public Health Code, medical exemptions are accepted whereas personal beliefs aren't.

The Department of Education also says that children can't attend school without being vaccinated.

"As the health department, we want to make sure that our laws in West Virginia remain as stringent as they are. There are times that the legislature considers changing them, but we want them to remain," said Triplett.

Several states, such as New York City and California, currently have outbreaks. Triplett says this is largely because they are main hubs for tourism.

She says in areas, like the university city, where people come from different states and countries, it's important for people to have their vaccinations.

"Here in Morgantown we do have a large international community. It's important for people, who come from other countries with different vaccination laws, should be vaccinated too."

Triplett says it's never too late to get the measles vaccination. According to the CDC, the highly-contagious virus starts with a fever and cold-like symptoms and is followed by a rash spreading all over the body.

"People just aren't really thinking about how dangerous these diseases are and they are vaccine preventable."

The CDC recommends that children should get two doses of the vaccine making it 97% effective. Teens and adults should also be up-to-date.