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Mother of First Measles Case: Doctors Could Have Stopped Outbreak

5:45 PM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
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Stokes County, N.C. -- One man brought back measles to North Carolina after he visited India. More than 1,000 people could have been exposed to measles in six counties. North Carolina is on a statewide alert.

Now, WFMY News 2 has learned that man's family says doctors are just as much to blame for the outbreak. On Wednesday, WFMY News 2 talked with the mother of the man who started the state's first outbreak of the measles since the 1980s.

She says doctors examined her son for three days and they never realized he had measles. WFMY News 2 has decided not to reveal the woman's name to protect her family's safety.

"They admitted him. They treated his symptoms for three days and three nights and tested him for everything and told him to go home with a full body rash. I'm upset. I specifically asked the doctor, every day, 'Is he contagious?' They assured me he was not," the mother said.

Then, she caught measles. Her daughter and grandson got it too. Soon after, the NC Health Department alerted doctors about the outbreak.

"It could have stopped right there. If they had diagnosed it, it could have just stayed right there at my house," the mother said.

Judy Southern, Guilford County Health Department's Program Manager  said, "A lot of our physicians are not familiar with what to look for with measles. However, our state department of public health has sent communication to every physician in North Carolina telling them we do have an outbreak."

Since the outbreak, doctors should be more aware about what signs to look for when a patient might have measles.

WFMY News 2 is also asking the Centers for Disease Control about what happens if and when doctors fail to diagnose a patient with an infectious disease and release them. The state health department is investigating the outbreak, but a spokesperson said the focus right now is on containing and stopping the outbreak.

Many health departments in the Triad are offering a free measles vaccine for anyone who wants one. To schedule an appointment, call your local health department. Phone numbers are available by clicking here.

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