ATLANTA (WTVM) – The Georgia Department of Health has confirmed the state's first case of measles.
The infant, who traveled to Georgia from outside the U.S., is being treated at Egleston at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and the hospital is working the Centers for Disease Control with the patient to prevent the spread of the highly-contagious respiratory disease.
It is the first confirmed case of measles in Georgia since 2012.
Once thought to be eliminated nationally due to a successful vaccine in the U.S. since 2000, this case is the 11th in the state since 2000.
But measles has experienced a resurgence, with nearly 100 people from at least 14 states being diagnosed with measles as of Jan. 1. Most measles patients were un-vaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status.
The current case, according to the GDPH is unrelated to the current outbreak, which is related to the disease spreading at the Disneyland theme park in California.
"We don't need to be alarmists. We need to be aware," said Patrick O'Neal, M.D., director of Health Protection at the Georgia Department of Public Health. "What happened in Disneyland is an alert that we live in a world now in which international travel is very common and frequent, and diseases are only hours away."
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).
There is no cure for measles, but measles can be prevented through vaccination. The measles vaccine (MMR) is highly effective, in most cases about 97 percent effective.
"We have a wonder vaccine, measles mumps and rubella that can be gotten at 12 to 15 months of age and then you get it again at 4 to 6 years old and it's 97 percent effective against the disease," said Cathy Henderson, Nurse Coordinator at Columbus Department of Public Health. "We do have requirement for school and day cares, it's still left up to the parents, but you can refuse for religious beliefs and there are medical exemptions."