Measles Awareness in GCPS
There has been much in the news about recent measles cases in the United States. According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention most of the people who got measles this year were not vaccinated. Although, there have been no reported cases of measles in Gwinnett County Public Schools, the following information, along with this downloadable fact sheet, may be of interest to parents and community members:
Facts about Measles
The U.S. is currently experiencing a large, multi-state measles outbreak linked to Disneyland Resort Theme Parks in California. From December 28, 2014, through January 21, 2015, more than 51 people from six states were reported to have measles. In addition, in January 2015 alone, over 50 individuals with measles have been reported in 8 additional states, not linked to the Disneyland outbreak.
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. Measles starts with a fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. Measles can be serious for young children. About three out of every ten people with measles will have complications including pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and death.
Measles can be easily prevented through vaccination. Vaccines are widely available and very effective against preventing measles infection. It is currently recommended that all children receive two doses of MMR vaccines to protect them against measles infection. Adults may also need MMR vaccine to gain protection, specifically individuals in college, healthcare workers, women of child bearing age, and international travelers.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Protect your children with the MMR vaccine. You can protect your child against measles with a combination vaccine that provides protection against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). The MMR vaccine is proven to be very safe and effective. Call your local health department locations to find out more about immunizations.
Protect yourself from measles. Some adults need measles vaccine too. If you suspect you or your child has measles, immediately call your medical provider and let them know. They will give you special instructions for seeking medical care to limit the chance you can spread measles to others. If you do not have a doctor and need to go to the Emergency Room, immediately notify the attendant that you may have measles so that appropriate precautions can be taken. Public Health will be contacted and immediately begin to work to identify individuals who have been exposed and could become ill. This is a priority to reduce the spread of illness.