MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Department of Health is urging state residents and visitors who have not been immunized to get vaccinated.

The disease, thought to have been eradicated in the United States in 2000, has reappeared in recent months in the form of outbreaks in several states, including Florida.

The Florida Department of Health encourages families to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations.

A measles outbreak is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as three or more cases.

Measles is a respiratory disease common outside the U.S. Someone who’s infected may have a fever, a cough, and a rash or spots all over the body including bumps inside of their mouth.

“If there’s one message I can tell people is that it’s easily preventable,” Dr. Bindu Mayi said.

Dr. Mayi is a microbiology professor at Nova Southeastern University. The doctor the MMR vaccine is 97% effective at preventing measles and it’s never too late to get the recommended two shots.

“In additional to that, proper cough etiquette, proper sneeze etiquette, good hand hygiene,” Mayi said.

“But the period of contagion starts before the rash appears when you don’t even know you have measles,” Mayi said.

People can easily be exposed by simply being in a room with someone who is infected.

“The virus can stick in airspace for two hours, so someone else can now come in and inhale that,” Mayi said.

Measles can be deadly. There’s no known medicine to cure an infected person but there is a treatment for the symptoms.

Last year, The Florida Department of Health recorded 15 residents and four visitors with measles. All of whom were not vaccinated. The state nearly 3,000 people were potentially exposed from those with measles in Florida.

Vaccination, according to the Florida Department of Health, is the best way to protect against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

For more information on measles visit floridahealth.gov/measles.

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