PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County said it is investigating a case of measles in an unvaccinated child.

The Department of Health said it is working with community health care partners to identify and notify persons who were potentially exposed to measles. The organization encourages all residents and visitors who have not been immunized to get vaccinated.

"We are continuing to investigate, but we would like families to know that their children could be exposed to diseases like measles anywhere and unless they're protected with vaccination they are risking potentially serious health effects for their child," DOH-Pinellas Director Dr. Ulyee Choe, an infectious disease specialist, said in a statement. "We encourage all parents to fully vaccinate their children to protect them from diseases like measles."

Measles is easily spread by air when infected people breathe, cough or sneeze. The first symptoms of measles are high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. These symptoms are followed by a blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the feet.

The disease can be severe, especially in young children and those with compromised immune systems. Complications can include pneumonia, encephalitis and death.

The best way to protect yourself and others against measles is to get vaccinated. Two doses of meals, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine are recommended for children. The first dose comes at 12-15 months old and the second dose comes between ages 4 and 6.

Click or tap here for more information about measles and measles vaccines in the state of Florida.

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