Georgia measles cases spark online debate

Georgia health officials confirmed a third measles case in the state. The person who contracted measles was unvaccinated and traveled internationally with a group of students. In response to this event, social media users are sharing a variety of false claims. Some are blaming immigrants for the recent rise in measles cases, while others claim that measles is not a severe illness.

Recommendation: These types of posts may promote false claims about the driving force behind recent measles outbreaks and downplay the risks of contracting measles. Ensuring that FAQ pages and informational materials are up to date on measles prevention and who is eligible for a measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is recommended. Talking points may emphasize that experts attribute recent measles outbreaks to a decline in vaccination rates, which jeopardizes herd immunity. Measles can cause serious complications and even death. About one in five unvaccinated people in the United States who get measles will be hospitalized and could suffer from pneumonia, dehydration, or brain swelling. The MMR vaccine is our best tool for preventing the spread of measles and reducing the risk of severe illness and death. Two doses of the MMR vaccine reduce the risk of contracting measles by 97 percent.