Due to recent reports of measles cases popping up throughout the United States, the Georgia Department of Community Health’s (DCH) Division of Public Health is encouraging children and adults to get vaccinated and to ensure all their vaccinations remain up-to-date.
No cases have been reported in Georgia to date, but individuals can never be too careful. Adults and children should remain current on their vaccinations as a precautionary measure, said Logan Boss, director of the Northwest Georgia Health Department.
“We know that the best way to prevent the measles is to get vaccinated,” he said.
According to Boss, the measeles was declared eradicated from the United States in 2000, meaning that cases only occurred when brought from a foreign country or visitor. The last known case in Georgia was reported in 2008, he said.
“As measles cases continue to occur sporadically nationwide, now is the perfect time to remind Georgians of the role each of us plays in keeping our community healthy,” said Anil T. Mangla, DCH's Director of Infectious Disease and Immunization and Acting State Epidemiologist said in a press release. “Getting immunized is the most effective way to prevent the spread of this preventable disease.”
This highly contagious virus has an incubation period of approximately 10 days, according to the DCH, and can be transmitted easily through contact with respiratory secretions, such as mucus, or by contact with coughing or sneezing.
According to Boss, refusing to receive vaccinations or not staying up-to-date on vaccinations increase complications and possibility of being infected with various viruses. Those at the highest risk of contracting a case of the measles are children, unvaccinated adults and individuals with a compromised immune system, he said.
Because of this, parents should ensure that children receive two of the combination MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccines; the first at 12 – 15 months and the second between the ages of four to six, according to DHC.
Additionally, all adults should receive at least one dose of the vaccine if they do not have proof that they have received it before.
Due to the rarity of this particular illness, Public Health is always working to increase awareness and training in the event that a doctor must treat a case of the measles, however the typical family doctor is capable of treating a diagnosed case, said Boss.
“This virus is very rare, and we hope to keep it that way,” he added.
For further questions about measles, visit http://health.state.ga.us/epi/disease/measles.asp or call the Gordon County Health Department at (706) 624-1444.
Symptoms of the Measles: