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Measles Surge Worries Health Officials

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DENVER (CBS4) - The highest number of measles cases in 20 years has federal health officials concerned.

Since the start of the year, more than 300 measles cases have been documented nationwide. No cases have been reported in Colorado, and just two have been discovered in the state since 2006. But doctors worry a spike across the country could increase the risk for Coloradans.

Health officials say most measles cases stem from unvaccinated travelers who contract the disease overseas and bring it home. The majority of domestic cases in 2014 can be traced to a small Amish community in Ohio.

“We know that our vaccination rates are not as high as we’d like them to be, so that puts individuals in our community at risk,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy told CBS4.

But a group that supports opting out of vaccinations says parents should decide whether their children are inoculated against measles.

“I was vaccinated as a young child with the measles vaccine and went into a seizure and shortly thereafter I actually got measles, so the vaccine failed to protect me,” Theresa Wrangham, the executive director of the National Vaccine Information Center, said.

Doctors say, however, the measles vaccine is the most effective method in preventing the disease’s spread.

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