By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The number of people with the measles has reached levels not seen in 25 years. The CDC says the number of cases jumped by 75 last week, pushing the total to 839.

At least 23 states have now confirmed cases of the highly contagious disease.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

Doctors here are pushing the importance of vaccines, but as WCCO’s Kate Raddatz explains, not everyone can get them.

The first dose of the measles vaccine is typically given when a baby turns 12 months old.

This week, researchers said Hennepin County is among 25 counties across the country at the highest risk for a new measles outbreak in 2019.

And that has parents of babies concerned about how to protect them.

“It is something that could potentially kill him,” said Coley Wright.

Wright is home on maternity leave with her newborn son. She worries about the threat of the measles coming to Minnesota.

“For him to not have a vaccine available to him, it’s concerning,” said Wright.

Willis, who is six weeks old, is also too young to get the vaccine.

“It’s sad we have to talk about this in a place where the vaccine is abundant and readily available but some people are choosing not to vaccinate their kids,” said Pediatrician Dr. Ifelayo Ojo

Dr. Ojo says there is some immunity to the measles passed on to the baby if the mom was vaccinated or if she had the measles.

He says the best protection is to make sure everyone in the family has had the measles vaccine and booster.

Dr. Ojo says some babies can get the vaccine at six months old, but it’s typically only recommended if you’re traveling out of the country or to a place that has a measles outbreak.

That’s because it’s not as effective at a younger age.

“People should avoid places where there might be somebody with measles,” said Dr. Ojo.

If there is an outbreak that means public places, but Dr. Ojo says he doesn’t want to scare parents from never leaving the house.

Still, Wright says she would likely alter their lifestyle to protect her son before he can get vaccinated.

“I would look at maybe not sending him to daycare, having an in-home nanny and trying to limit his time in public,” said Wright.

WCCO checked with a few daycares in the area and all of them required children to be up to date on their vaccines.

Of course, a baby under a year old could still come in and have the measles before they show symptoms.

Kate Raddatz

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