HEALTH WATCH: Measles cases climb to 764

Health Watch

Doctors’ offices in our area are reporting calls from people concerned about the measles virus.

Dr. Torey Harden is a pediatrician with Wellstar in LaGrange. He says his office has been getting calls from parents concerned about the measles but so far no confirmed cases have walked in to his waiting room. He and his staff are on the lookout for signs of this very contagious virus that people often mistake for just a benign childhood illness.

“There can be serious complications from it including pneumonia, inflammation around the brain which is called encephalitis and sometimes even death,” said Dr. Torey Harden.

The signs of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes or conjunctivitis. About 4 or 5 days after a fever, a rash appears, starting around the hairline and spots can be seen in the mouth.

Georgia and Alabama are among the states that allow for a religious exemption as a way of opting out of vaccines.

Those who are most at-risk for measles are kids age five and under, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.

The virus is airborne. If an infected person sneezes or coughs in a crowded room, those droplets remain for ten to 20 minutes afterwards.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are 764 cases of the measles in 23 states across the U.S. including Georgia which is listed as having 3 or more cases. Alabama is still investigating one presumptive or presumed positive case, though not yet confirmed to be measles.

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