PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

A health scare over a major measles outbreak is prompting health officials to ask people who have not received a measles vaccine to get one.

There are 21 confirmed cases in Orange County, and 5 cases have been confirmed in Riverside County, all involving young children, who didn't get vaccinated. It's the highest number of cases in the past several years.

"I think its pretty scary that people just don't vaccinate their children taking a chance that everyone else is vaccinated and their kid won't get sick," said Palm Springs mother Tiffany Mattecheck.
     
Health officials say they haven't seen an outbreak like this in 2 decades, and can easily be preventable with a single vaccine. Measles is a disease that spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It's so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people around him or her will also get infected, if they're not vaccinated.
 
Some parents opt out of getting their kids vaccinated for numerous reasons, including fear over it possibly causing autism.

"I don't think that's right, because I mean their children could get a disease anytime," said mother Gladys Mercado of Cathedral City.
     
Dr. Shubha Kerkar who specializes in infectious diseases and HIV medicine at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs said studies show no connection between vaccines and the disorder.

"In vaccinating 100% of kids your benefits far exceed any risk from this, and there is no risk from vaccination," Kerkar said.

The measles vaccine lasts a lifetime.

"We're without these diseases because of the success of these vaccines," she said.

Dr. Kerkar hopes hopes parents will vaccinate their children stopping the spread of this preventable disease.

"There are more than one reason why you should get vaccinated, not just to protect you, but your circle, your class, your school, your community and then you can increase that circle," she said.