Florida's school measles cluster grows; Ohio and Washington report cases

child with measles

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Over the past few days, three more measles cases have been reported at an elementary school in Broward County, Florida, raising the total to six, according to local media reports citing school district officials.

Earlier in the week, the Florida Department of Health in Broward County said it is investigating several cases at an elementary school in Weston, Florida, located about 20 miles west of Fort Lauderdale. It said those at risk include those who haven't received the full measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine series and those who are immunocompromised. The agency said it is identifying susceptible contacts who may be candidates for MMR or immunoglobulin post-exposure prophylaxis (prevention).

The district said 92% of students at the school have been vaccinated against measles and that they will be offering free MMR vaccination at the school this week for students and families.

Unclear if state officials will temporarily close school

District officials said any decisions to temporarily close the school would be made by the state of Florida. A widely circulated letter posted by the media and on social media from Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, MD, PhD, said it is normally recommended children without immunity stay home until the end of the infectious period, due to high likelihood of infection.

He said, however, that, owing to high immunity rate in the community and the hardship it would place on families to close the school, officials are deferring to parents regarding school attendance. His recommendation has raised alarm in the public health community.

Ladapo said the recommendation could change as epidemiologic investigations continue. He urged parents to be alert for measles symptoms, but made no recommendation about ensuring that kids are up to date with MMR vaccination. Ladapo is known for his concerns about COVID vaccine safety and has called for a halt in the use of mRNA COVID vaccines.

Ohio reports second infection; Washington detects case

Meanwhile, health officials in Ohio's Miami County have reported a measles case, marking the state's second of the year, according to a local media report. The patient visited a grocery store in Montgomery County before he or she was diagnosed, and health officials are tracking down people who were potentially exposed.

Also, local health officials in Spokane County, Washington, today reported an infection in a local resident who was likely exposed outside the country. The Spokane Regional Health District warned residents about potential exposure at Spokane's international airport and at other public locations, including a library and restaurants.

Officials urged people to check their children's and their own MMR vaccine status to ensure they are up to date with their doses.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged healthcare providers to be alert for measles cases against the backdrop of a global rise in cases.

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