Georgia health officials said Monday they have identified a likely source of measles outbreaks in Cobb County, linking a number of ailments to a local family of five who traveled to Florida in late September.
Members of the Cobb County family – all of whom were unvaccinated – may have contracted measles during this trip to Florida, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported. The disease has never been reported to Georgia health officials, who only learned the family's diagnoses during their investigation of the outbreak of the highly contagious disease.
Also Monday, the state health agency announced two new cases of measles ̵
The total number of confirmed cases in Cobb County is 11, and the total for the year in Georgia is 18. At least 17 of those affected by
Health officials say all cases in Cobb County are limited to three families who live in the same vicinity with children who have spent time with each other. After being diagnosed with a student in Mabri, those exposed, including unvaccinated students and at least one adult at the school, stay home.
If the number of cases does not increase during the incubation period ending November 22, officials said they hoped this would signal the epidemic was contained.
In the USA, most cases of measles are the result of international travel. The virus is usually transmitted here by people who become infected in other countries. These travelers then spread the disease to people who have not been vaccinated.
Public health officials are asking anyone with measles symptoms to call a doctor first before entering a doctor's office or hospital.
The measles virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Drops of nose or mouth get up in the air or land on surfaces where germs can live for two hours.
MORE: What is measles and how can you prevent it?
MORE: Four questions about after-school vaccinations in Georgia
The measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people around it will also become infected if not vaccinated.
Vaccinations are compulsory in Georgia for public school attendance, but there are exceptions for medical and religious reasons.
Approximately 93.6% of young children in Georgia received the recommended measles, mumps and rubella vaccination, slightly lower than the national average of 94.7%, according to a study published in the October issue of the Centers Weekly Report to control and prevent morbidity and mortality.
Also in Georgia, 2.5% of kindergartens had an exception to at least one vaccine, which is the same overall percentage for the United States
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