JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed at least 555 cases of measles in 20 states. That’s more than the total number of cases reported in 2017 and 2018 combined.
So far this year, there’s been one reported case of the measles in Florida and three in Georgia.
While those local numbers may not seem like a lot, health officials identified dozens of people in each of those cases who had possible exposure.
The CDC is currently monitoring outbreaks in New York, Michigan, California, New Jersey and Washington, outbreaks the agency has linked to travelers returning from overseas.
According to the CDC, a majority of the people who got the measles were not vaccinated.
“Measles and chicken pox are probably the two most infectious diseases,” explained Dr. Brian Cooper, who works at Orange Park Medical Center.
Dr. Brian Cooper saw several cases of the measles during an outbreak in the Northeast during the 1980s. He said the disease is highly contagious and tends to spread through coughing or sneezing.
The most common symptoms of measles are a cough, runny nose and fever followed days later by a rash on the body.
“A case of the measles will infect 90 percent of the unvaccinated people that they come in contact with,” Cooper said.
He said the best way to prevent getting the measles is to get vaccinated.
“That’s the most protective thing that you can do,” Cooper said. “Everybody in the United States who was born after 1957 needs to have two doses of the measles vaccine, each given more than a month apart.”
For more information, visit the CDC website.