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 promote false claims about the driving force behind recent measles outbreaks and downplay the risk of contracting measles. This may discourage patients in Georgia from getting the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine for themselves and for their children. 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. The CDC recommends that children receive their first dose of the MMR vaccine between the ages of 12 and 15 months and their second dose between the ages of 4 and 6 years. Unvaccinated adults born after 1957 should also receive two doses of the MMR vaccine.