Doctor explains why old viruses are becoming new outbreaks

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - You've seen the outbreaks across the nation of measles, chicken pox and of mumps -- the illnesses you thought were only big during your grandparents' younger days.

CDC/Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald (MGN)

They had almost been irradiated. But now, they are coming back.

WKYT Medical Contributor Dr. Ryan Stanton said it all comes down to vaccines. We are not used to seeing the outbreaks of old viruses because enough of the population was vaccinated and protected. So, one case might pop up, but the rest of the population's immunities were able to keep an outbreak away.

"We had enough protection that you wouldn't see things spread," Dr. Stanton told WKYT's Investigates. "You would see little single cases or something from traveling. But you wouldn't see it spread because it had no place to go."

Dr. Stanton said people that aren't vaccinated are overpowering the herd who are vaccinated. This is because people are choosing not to be vaccinated or coming into the country and don't have proper vaccinations needed in the U.S.

Add on top of that, even those who are vaccinated may be at risk from catching an old illness. Dr. Stanton explained that

"Over time your body starts to say, 'I'm not seeing this. I'm not needing this. So I don't need to have this army anymore,'" Stanton said.

That's where Stanton said checking for antibodies in the blood is a way to see if the vaccine is still working. It just takes a blood draw. These checks are helping doctors realize that some vaccines don't last forever, as we may have thought.