A 5-month-old baby got the measles — now her mom has a message for parents

"This is something that could have been prevented," mom Audrey Peine said.

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By Rheana Murray

After her 5-month-old baby contracted the measles, a mom in Alabama has a message for people who refuse to vaccinate against infectious diseases.

"This is something that could have been prevented," Audrey Peine of Pell City told TODAY. "She didn't have to get sick."

Peine's daughter, Emma, came down with a fever and a runny nose about a week and a half ago, and later developed a rash, she said. Her 5-year-old son had recently had the flu, so doctors thought Emma might also have the flu, and gave her a dose of Tamiflu.

Five-month-old Emma is Alabama's "first presumptive positive measles case" in Alabama in 2019, according to the state's health department. Courtesy of Audrey Peine

"Because it's so rare, they didn't really think she had the measles, but because she had the rash, they wanted to test her for it," Peine, 20, said.

On Thursday, Peine learned that her daughter tested positive for the measles.

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The Alabama Department of Public Health has confirmed that an infant in St. Clair County, where Peine lives, is the state's first "presumptive positive measles case" in 2019, since the measles outbreak across the country began.

A spokesperson for the health department told TODAY via email that the CDC is doing additional testing.

After getting the diagnosis, Peine wrote a Facebook post calling out parents who do not vaccinate their children against the disease, saying their "negligence" is why her daughter got the measles. She made the post private after getting attacked by anti-vaxxers online, she told TODAY.

Audrey Peine said her daughter's symptoms included a runny nose, a fever and this rash. Courtesy of Audrey Peine

"We were really frustrated because our pediatrician told us that she probably caught it because there are so many people who decide not to vaccinate their kids," Peine said.

"We don't mean hate towards anybody," she added. "We just want everyone to understand the importance of vaccinating their kids and getting good information about this and not just believing everything you read on the internet."

There is a persistent fear that vaccines cause autism, which numerous scientific studies have found to be untrue.

Emma is now doing much better, her mom said. Courtesy of Audrey Peine

Babies do not get the MMR vaccine, which provides protection against measles, mumps and rubella, until they are 12 months old. But if you live in a high-risk area, such as New York or California, you may be able to talk to your doctor and get your baby vaccinated before 12 months.

Emma will still get the vaccine when she turns one, Peine said.

Audrey Peine with her boyfriend and their two childrenCourtesy of Audrey Peine

There is no treatment for the measles and the disease can be life-threatening. Complications can include infections, pneumonia and encephalitis, according to the CDC.

"We can only treat her symptoms," Peine said. "We kept a humidifier in her room, have been sucking out her nose before she nurses, and giving her Tylenol and Motrin to keep her fever down."

Fortunately, Emma is already feeling better.

"She's doing really good," Peine said. "The rash is completely gone. Her fever has been gone for a few days. She still has a bit of a runny nose, but for the most part, she is back to being her happy little self."