NYC’s highly contagious measles epidemic about to go nationwide thanks to anti-vaxxer parents: MSNBC
Sick child with the measles (Shutterstock)

MSNBC medical correspondent Dr. John Torres said Monday that the measles epidemic hitting New York City may go national -- and urged people to get vaccinated.

"It is pretty scary, and it's spreading across the country and it's spreading across the world," said Torres. "The World Health Organization just came out saying there's 112,000 cases so far this year of measles around the world." The U.S., he added, was home to 555 of those cases, just four months into the year.

"In 2000, the US declared measles eliminated, meaning either there were very few cases, it wasn't eradicated but it wasn't endemic, it wasn't entrenched in the U.S.," Torres went on. "Talking to measles experts, they're saying we can't say that anymore."

"The thing people have a hard time realizing is that measles is one of the most contagious viruses out there known to man," he added in a dig at the anti-vaccine movement which is at least partly to blame for the current surge in infections. "Somebody you pass in the concourse of an airport, boom, you catch it very easily. Ninety percent of people unprotected catch it if somebody passes them with measles."

"Get vaccinated. There's no harm in the vaccine," Torres urged. "It's rare to get any problems from the vaccine. It's not rare to get problems from measles."

Watch the video below.