SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - More than 700 cases of measles have been reported in 22 states, according to the CDC. Six of those are here in Georgia.
That’s the largest number since measles was declared “eradicated” in the United States in 2000.
While there are no confirmed cases in Southeast Georgia, health care leaders want parents to keep an eye out for symptoms in their children. The CDC says receiving two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is 97 percent effective in preventing the measles.
When we think about measles, we usually think about children going to the doctor to get the vaccine, but now the question has come up about adults and if they need an extra dose of the vaccine.
“There is this question, ‘Am I immune enough from my old vaccines? Do I need additional immunity?' So, I think that’s what people are worried about. 'As an adult, could I potentially get it,” explained Dr. Ame Wilder, Memorial Health.
Dr. Wilder says people born before 1989 may need an extra dose of the vaccine. She says before that year, you didn’t have to get the two-dose series.
“You get one shot, and you actually have a 93 percent chance of being immune,” she said.
Wilder says around 1989 is when the second dose was introduced, and that dose gives you a 97 percent change of immunity.
“93 percent is good. 97 percent is better, because that system didn’t change until 1989 - those that got vaccinated beforehand, so if you were less than four years old beforehand, you could potentially need an extra dose.”
If you aren’t sure if you need the extra dose, your doctor can do a blood test to see if you are immune or not.
“As we age, sometimes our immunity trickles on down anyway,” Dr. Wilder said. “Our bodies say, ‘Well, we haven’t seen that virus for 20 years, what do we need to keep making all these antibodies for?”
Dr. Wilder stresses that there are some people who are more susceptible to getting the measles than others.
“Definitely more common in kids or people who may have weakened immune systems, so maybe those that have cancer or certain autoimmune diseases or take certain medicines to known the immune system down, so that’s where you would likely see it in an adult.”
If you don’t have insurance or if your insurance does not cover the vaccine, health care officials say there is an administrative fee of $21.93 for vaccination.
If you have any questions about the vaccine or measles, you can always contact your doctors with those questions. Click here for more information.