The state health department on Thursday confirmed the seventh case of measles in Georgia this year.
An unvaccinated metro Atlanta resident was diagnosed with measles after traveling overseas, Department of Public Health spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said.
Like the U.S., Europe is dealing with its biggest measles outbreak since the 1990s. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from measles is by getting vaccinated, Nydam said.
“Anyone planning international travel should be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before leaving,” said state epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek. “Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who have not been vaccinated or are not immune will also become infected.”
The vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, or the MMR vaccine, is one of the most effective, Drenzek said.
“Keeping immunization levels high is critical to preventing outbreaks or sustained transmission of measles in Georgia," Drenzek said. "It also provides herd immunity for those who cannot be vaccinated.”
The health department cautions that measles spreads when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes and respiratory droplets travel through the air.
"Measles virus can live in the air and on surfaces for two to three hours," Nydam said. "Almost everyone who has not been vaccinated will get measles if they are exposed to the virus."