Measles Outbreak Wreaks Havoc In Florida

So far this week, six individuals in Broward County, Florida, have received measles diagnoses.

According to health experts, a third grader with no prior travel history tested positive on February 16, signaling the quick emergence of the outbreak. Five other instances have been associated with the school since then, the most recent of which was found on Tuesday night. 

A person infected with measles can transmit the disease to others by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. Common symptoms include a runny nose and mild fever, but the condition can progress to severe consequences and even death in rare instances.

Broward County Public Schools, local hospitals, and the Florida Department of Health collaborate to find potential transmission risk contacts. A thorough cleaning of the building and replacing air filters are among the preventive measures implemented by the school district to ensure that no new diseases will spread throughout the institution. 

Superintendent Peter Licata says it is safe to send your child to school if they are vaccinated. Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo of Florida gave parents the final say on whether or not their children could go to school, a move that has drawn criticism from certain public health professionals.

Exposure to the measles virus will result in the disease for most persons who have not been vaccinated. Children who aren’t vaccinated—whether because their parents choose not to or because they are too young, those with medical conditions that prevent vaccination, or those who don’t react well to the vaccine—are among those at risk. 

Unvaccinated children should remain at home for three weeks following an exposure, according to the CDC. One out of five measles patients require hospitalization, one out of ten get ear infections that can cause irreversible hearing loss, and one out of every thousand succumb to respiratory and neurological problems.