Georgia Dept. of Health urges vaccination against measles - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Georgia Dept. of Health urges vaccination against measles

From the Georgia Department of Community Health

ATLANTA Due to recent reports of measles cases occurring throughout the U.S., the Georgia Department of Community Health's Division of Public Health encourages children and adults to ensure that their vaccinations are up-to-date.  

While no cases have recently been reported in Georgia, the incubation period of measles is approximately 10 days. 

Measles is highly contagious, and can be transmitted through contact with respiratory secretions and through the air by coughing and sneezing. 

Symptoms include fever, runny nose and cough followed within 3-4 days by a rash that starts at the hairline and spreads over the body.  Possible complications can include ear infection, pneumonia, and rarely neurological complications and death.

"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.  "Getting immunized is the most effective way to prevent the spread of this preventable disease."

In recent years, most U.S. measles cases have been in persons who were not vaccinated and exposed while traveling internationally to countries where the disease is more common, or unvaccinated foreign visitors who were infected prior to their arrival. 

In these situations, measles continues to be imported into the U.S., putting unvaccinated and partially vaccinated residents at risk.

Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.  Infants less than one year of age who are too young to be immunized (the first dose of MMR is recommended at one year of age) are most at risk of acquiring measles, as are any persons who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised.

All children should receive two doses, with the first dose recommended at 12-15 months and the second dose at age 4-6 years.  All adults should receive at least one dose, unless they have proof of previous immunity.

Persons aged 12 months or older planning to travel internationally should be protected with two doses of measles vaccine.  Infants traveling abroad between the ages of 6-11 months should receive one dose before travel.

If you suspect you have measles, contact your local health care provider by phone to discuss symptoms and risk of exposure.

  For further questions about measles, visit http://health.state.ga.us/epi/disease/measles.asp or call the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section of the Georgia Division of Public Health at 404-657-2588.

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