SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Back in 2000, vaccines had come close to eliminating measles in the United States.
Right now, the nationwide measles outbreak is the largest in more than 20 years. The CDC says there have been 695 cases this year alone.
Georgia is listed as an outbreak state with three reported cases in Atlanta. Here in the Coastal Empire, all is clear. The amount of students in the county who are not vaccinated is low. Nurses say that’s the only reason we haven’t had cases reported here.
“So, a nurse at a middle school might have a situation that another nurse can relate to, and its a good opportunity for us to collaborate and talk about 'what has worked for you, what did you do with this parent, how did you handle this situation," said Lisa Wilson, NCSN, BSN, RN, SCCPSS District Lead Nurse.
Dr. Stephen Thacker with Memorial Health Pediatrics tells school nurses how to control exposure in schools and the proper way to report a case.
“Runny nose, red eyes, a fever, and rash that would develop. and what would you do with that? What are the next steps in protecting your community and the other children in the school," Dr Tucker said.
Measles can be a scary disease and also, highly contagious. Health experts in Savannah and around the country are attributing this outbreak to parents choosing not to vaccinate their kids.
“Vaccine hesitancy tends to increase. If you are not as aware of the benefits of the vaccine that you are getting, then you are probably going to be less likely to receive it," said Dr. Anne McMahon, Memorial Health Physician.
In the state of Georgia, people are allowed vaccine exemptions for religious and medical reasons, but not personal reasons.
The school systems has yearly immunization audits.
Out of the 38,000 kids in 56 Savannah-Chatham County public schools, Wilson guesses around 3-8 kids per school aren’t vaccinated.
“It’s a low number, which is one of the reasons we have three cases in Georgia versus the hundreds we are seeing in other places. We hope that continues. We hope that our parents will continue to be diligent."