By Michelle Durham

ABINGTON, Pa. (CBS) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a study which indicates that 2013 is one of the worst years in the last two decades for measles.

One local physician says fear is causing some parents not to vaccinate their children, and warns that the decision puts their children and others at significant risk of contracting dangerous illnesses that are completely preventable.

We asked Dr. Steven Shapiro, pediatrics department chair at Abington Memorial Hospital, if there is a correlation between parents reluctant to vaccinate children because of the fear of autism and the rise in measles cases.

“Not only do I think that, I know that is the case,” he tells KYW Newsradio.   “I think parents have gotten a bad bill of goods, coerced by bad scientists.”

Shapiro, who also sees patients in private practice throughout Montgomery County, says the measles vaccine is perfectly safe and if your child contracts measles, there are many possible complications.

“Pneumonias, infections, abscesses, and at the most extreme end, encephalitis or an infection of the brain.”

Dr. Shapiro says there have been no cases locally but advises worried parents to speak to their child’s pediatrician.

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