School district officials confirmed Monday that a Cobb County middle schooler has been diagnosed with measles.
The Mabry Middle School student was present at the school Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and could have exposed others to the virus, according to Cobb and Douglas Public Health. The Cobb County School District was notified over the weekend, a district spokesperson said.
“Mabry parents have been communicated with and any student who is at risk will not be allowed in school through November 22nd,” the school district said in an emailed statement. “The unaffected teachers and students remain focused on teaching and learning while affected students and families are supported by Public Health.”
The Georgia Department of Public Health announced Saturday it had confirmed a case of measles in Cobb County but did not make the connection to Mabry Middle. It is the eighth confirmed case in Georgia this year, Channel 2 Action News reported.
The infected person was unvaccinated, officials with the state agency said. They are asking anyone who believes they have symptoms of measles to call a health care provider first before going into a doctor’s office or hospital.
The measles virus usually starts with a fever and is accompanied by a cough, a runny nose and red eyes, according to state officials. Two to three days after the first symptoms appear, a rash of red spots breaks out, usually first on the face along the hairline. It can spread to the rest of the body within 24 hours.
Measles is a highly contagious germ that can be spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The germ can linger in the air up to two hours.
“People may be infected by simply being in a room where an infected person once was,” a state health official said. “It is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected.”
In a letter sent home to parents, Janet Pak Memark with the Cobb-Douglas agency said it is very unlikely a Mabry Middle School student will get measles if they have been vaccinated with the measles mumps and rubella vaccine. The vaccine is typically administered first between 12 to 15 months of age and again between 4 and 6 years of age.
She is advising any children not vaccinated against measles to not return to school until Nov. 25. Otherwise, vaccinated children were cleared to return Monday.
If children become ill, parents are asked to call the Georgia Department of Health Acute Disease Epidemiology Section at 404-657-2588 immediately.
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