On Tuesday, officials in Georgia confirmed three cases of measles in the same metro Atlanta family. The people reported having the virus had not been vaccinated.
What is measles and what are the symptoms? Here’s a look at the disease.
What is measles?
Measles is a viral infection.
What are the symptoms?
- High fever
- Runny nose
- Red, watery eyes
- Tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth after two or three days
- A red rash that covers the body follows
How does it spread?
Measles is highly contagious. Measles spreads through coughing and sneezing. It can linger in the air for up to two hours after someone who is infected with the virus coughs or sneezes.
Public health officials in Washington say there are up to 50 locations where those infected have said they visited during the disease’s incubation period. The places include schools, day cares, churches, a Portland Trail Blazers game, the Seattle airport and a Walmart location.
Can it be prevented?
The measles vaccine, which is given in two doses, is 97 percent effective against the virus.
What does herd immunity mean, and why are people talking about it?
When people are vaccinated, the community in which they live gains protection from outbreaks of disease. Not only are you less likely to get a disease if you have been vaccinated, but you are also less likely to come into contact with an infectious disease if others have been vaccinated.
When a large segment of the community has been vaccinated, the risk for an outbreak of disease falls to near zero. When a community reaches that number, it is known as herd immunity.
Herd immunity is different for every disease.
Will measles kill you?
While it is a miserable disease, most people recover. Complications can include pneumonia and swelling of the brain.
FILE - This Feb. 6, 2015, file photo, shows a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine on a countertop at a pediatrics clinic in Greenbrae, Calif. A measles outbreak near Portland has sickened dozens of people in Oregon and Washington, with several more cases suspected, and public health officials scrambling to contain the virus say low vaccination rates are making the situation worse. Clark County Public Health said Sunday, Jan. 28, 2019, that the majority of the cases involve children younger than 10.