TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - In the year 2000, the measles was declared eradicated in the U.S.
Now officials are issuing dire warnings for everyone to make sure they're vaccinated against the disease amid a nationwide outbreak.
“We want people to get vaccinated so they don’t get the disease,” said Kevin Watler, a spokesperson in Hillsborough County for the Florida Department of Health.
Local health departments are now having to urge citizens to vaccinate their kids, especially after recent measles outbreaks in states like New York.
“There's a lot of misinformation out there about the vaccine,” said Watler. “There's no scientific data to link the vaccine to autism."
According to a recent Tampa Bay Times data analysis, the number of people in Florida who claimed religious exemptions to avoid vaccinating their children has been on the rise; from 6,500 in 2011 to nearly 25,000 last year.
The surgeon general says 91% of U.S. residents have received the vaccine.
However, "most of these outbreaks are occurring in pockets and each of these pockets is unique,” said U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.