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Measles may become more common in Kentucky

Many medical experts believed that measles had been eradicated in the U.S. thanks to vaccines that protect people from this disease. However, according to ABC News' chief health and medical editor, when diseases like measles become less common, parents begin to believe that there is no need for vaccinating their children. As a result, these diseases often experience a resurgence.

This is what is apparently happening in some areas due to vaccination rates falling below the 92 percent herd immunity threshold needed to protect individuals without vaccinations. What is compounding the increase in diagnosed instances of measles is that many doctors have never seen a patient with it and may be unfamiliar with it, preventing a prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

The symptoms of measles include fever, pinkeye and a rash, which are common symptoms of a variety of conditions, making it even less likely that doctors will identify it if they are not on the lookout for measles symptoms. Even worse, individuals may be contagious before they even begin to exhibit these symptoms. Prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1962, nearly half a million cases were reported in the US; as of 2004, it dropped to 37. Due to lack of vaccination and familiarity with the disease, 64 cases were reported in just one month.

It is essential that doctors are able to identify even uncommon diseases to prevent a patient's condition from worsening due to lack of proper care or from inappropriate treatments. If someone is not correctly diagnosed, they may end up developing additional medical conditions or even dying. A lawyer may be able to assist an individual who believes that they have been misdiagnosed in determining what the circumstances were and advising them of their legal options.

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