How to protect yourself against measles

How to protect yourself against measles

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - After health officials confirmed Georgia's first reported case of measles since 2012, the Department of Public Health issued important information about the disease.

Symptoms of measles include:

  • Fever (can be very high)
  • Cough, runny nose and red eyes
  • Tiny white spots on the inner lining of the cheek – also called Koplik's spots
  • Rash of tiny, red spots that start at the head and spreads to the rest of the body (spots may become joined together as they spread)

Doctors recommend 2 doses of MMR vaccine for best protection. The first dose is given to children 12-15 months old, the second dose between 4-6 months. Students at colleges and universities who do not have evidence of immunity against measles need two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.

Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, especially if they are considering travel outside of the U.S. or were born in the early 1960's when a less effective vaccine was used. A simple blood test can determine if a person has measles immunity.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, because of high population immunity achieved by very effective measles vaccine coverage. But measles still exists in many parts of the world, and outbreaks can occur in the U.S. when unvaccinated individuals or groups are exposed to imported measles virus.

Since 2002, there have been 11 reported cases of measles in Georgia - including this current one - all were imported cases or linked to an imported case.

Public health officials are continuing to closely monitor the large, multi-state measles outbreak linked to Disneyland Resort Theme Parks in California. Since January 1, 2015, more than 100 people from at least 14 states were reported to have measles, the majority of them with ties to the Disneyland outbreak. Most of the case-patients were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. The current Georgia case was said to be unrelated to that outbreak.

Copyright 2015 WALB. All rights reserved.