Unvaccinated Cobb County Student May Have Spread Measles, Health Department Says

Nov 9, 2019

A Cobb County middle school student who had not been vaccinated against measles may have spread the disease to others between Oct. 31 and Nov. 6, 2019, the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed on Saturday.

Parents of students at Mabry Middle School were notified via email by the Cobb and Douglas Public Health Department about the possible exposure. Students who have not been vaccinated are asked not to return to school until Nov. 25, the letter said.

So far this year, Georgia has had eight cases of measles, which is the most the state has seen in a decade. One case of measles was reported in 2015, and, before that, Georgia had not seen measles since 2012.

This year saw the largest outbreak of measles in the U.S. since 1994, with 1,250 cases reported as of Oct. 3, largely driven by families choosing not to vaccinate their kids. Worldwide, the disease has resurfaced in areas that had been declared measles-free.

The most important thing the state health department wants people to know is that people who think they may have been exposed and are exhibiting symptoms should NOT go to a doctor's office, hospital or clinic without calling first to alert staff.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus and spread when infected people cough or sneeze. It's also highly preventable, experts say. 

MORE: Why The Measles Surge Could Open The Door To A Host Of Other Diseases

Measles can be prevented with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. The vaccine is safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children receive their first dose of MMR vaccine between 12-15 months of age and a second dose between 4-6 years old. More than 95% of the people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to all three viruses. A second dose boosts immunity, typically enhancing protection to 98%.

Measles (Rubeola) Fact Sheet

What is measles?

Measles (rubeola) is a highly contagious vaccine-preventable disease caused by a virus.

How is measles spread?

Measles is spread by air-borne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes

What are the symptoms of measles?

Measles typically begins with a fever, followed by cough, runny nose, and/or red, watery eyes. After two to three days, the fever peaks and a rash appears at the hairline and spreads progressively downward covering the face, neck, trunk and extremities.

What kind of vaccine is given to prevent measles? 

The MMR vaccine prevents measles and two other viral diseases – mumps and rubella. More than 95% of the people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to all three viruses. A second dose boosts immunity, typically enhancing protection to 98%.

The CDC recommends that all persons be routinely vaccinated between 12 and 18 months of age and receive a booster between 4 and 6 years of age.

RELATED: Measles Virus May Wipe Out Immune Protection For Other Diseases

Who is at increased risk of becoming infected with measles?

  • Infants who are too young to have been vaccinated (less than 1 year of age),
  • Persons who have never been vaccinated,
  • Pregnant women,
  • Immunocompromised persons (these include persons undergoing cancer chemotherapy or other immune-suppressive treatments, transplant recipients or those with diseases that affect the immune system such as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE).

What about older persons?

Persons born before 1957 are generally considered immune because they probably had the disease when they were younger.

Is it OK to go to public places (i.e., grocery store, work, day care, school etc.) if I become ill?

No. If you become ill you should avoid all public places and contact your health care provider immediately. DO NOT go to the doctor’s office, the hospital, or a public health clinic without FIRST calling to let them know about your possible exposure to measles. Your health care provider or public health nurse will advise you about what you should do. Please contact the Georgia Department of Public Health immediately at 404-657-2588 should you become ill.

Measles in Georgia

  • 2019 – 8 (to date)
  • 2018 - 0
  • 2017 - 0
  • 2016 - 0
  • 2015 - 1
  • 2014 - 0
  • 2013 - 0
  • 2012 - 2
  • 2011 - 0
  • 2010 - 1  
  • 2009 - 1