Mom Devastated After 5-Month-Old Is Diagnosed with Measles Amid Mass Outbreaks: 'It's Terrifying'

A California mother is urging the public to vaccinate after her 5-month-old son was diagnosed with measles, having been too young for the vaccine.

Sara Blum told CNN that her son Walter Blum had a fever of 102.5 and a rash covering his entire body. She said she was shocked by the temperature and called the full-body rash “terrifying.”

“It was all over his face,” she told the site. “All over the back of his neck. It was really red and splotchy. It was very alarming.”

Walter was diagnosed with measles, an infectious viral disease characterized by a rash, high fever and red, watery eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blum said she relied on those around Walter to get vaccinated to protect the baby’s health, since he was too young.

“It’s really sad, but our community kind of failed us,” Blum told CNN. CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield added to CNN: “When you get vaccinated you protect others around you at risk for complications.”

Blum shared photos of Walter’s condition in a March Facebook post, writing that “there were no major complications and he is doing okay, but it could have easily been a different turnout.”

“This would have been 100% preventable if people would just trust doctors and science, and vaccinate their children rather than going off of their own opinions and doing their research through facebook. Because of them, my little boy had to get measles and suffer.”

Walter’s story comes amid the largest outbreak of the disease in the country since 1994. The CDC reports 704 cases of measles in 22 states so far this year, with more than 400 of those cases in New York.

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Symptoms of the illness include runny nose, cough, fever and red, watering eyes, according to the CDC. A red splotchy rash will appear on a person’s face or entire body three to five days after the first symptoms present.

“Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles,” the CDC writes. “Anyone who has received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine is considered immune and highly unlikely to get measles.”

The New York outbreak — the longest and largest outbreak in the country since 2000 — began when an unvaccinated child visited Israel, returned infected and spread the disease, CNN reported, citing New York City health officials.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency covering four Brooklyn zip codes due to the outbreak and threatened to impose fines on people if they refused to vaccinate their children (unless they can provide proof of a medical exemption), NPR reported.

“We cannot allow this dangerous disease to make a comeback here in New York City. We have to stop it now,” de Blasio said at a recent news conference. “We have a situation now where children are in danger. We have to take this seriously.”

Of the 704 measles cases, 503 (71 percent) were unvaccinated, 76 were vaccinated with at least one of the recommended doses and 125 percent had an unknown vaccination status, according to CNN. Twenty-five of those were younger than 6 months old.

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