HOUSTON (FOX 26) - It's just April, and there have already been 465 cases of measles in the country.
That's the second highest number of cases since 2000. A large outbreak in the Jewish Orthodox community prompted the City of New York to declare a public health emergency.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed 15 measles cases in our area as of this month.
"It's tragic, because measles is a very easily preventable disease," says emergency physician Dr. Huma Kausar. "Measles is highly contagious, and it is deadly. The reason we are seeing so many cases is because people are not getting vaccinated."
They say the key is immunization to keep the measles from spreading, so why are there so many people without the shot?
"With social media, there's a lot of false news being circulated. It is important to note that there is no clear evidence in the medical community, there's no evidence-based research that links vaccination to autism."
Measles is an incredibly contagious disease, meaning that those who go unvaccinated are very susceptible to contracting it.
Dr. Kausar saw a vastly different side of vaccination on her various medical mission trips to remote areas.
"There was a mom who had no money, no resources, and she walked 40 miles barefoot to make sure that her child got the MMR vaccine," said Dr. Kausar. "The reason is because her first child died of measles."
Measles can have many symptoms, but the lasting effects (aside from death) can be debilitating. Pneumonia, blindness, deafness, and swelling of the brain can all be prevented.
"It is not something to take lightly."