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Measles outbreak in South Florida elementary school raises concerns, urges focus on vaccination rates

Measles outbreak in South Florida elementary school raises concerns | Credits: Getty Images

United States: The concerns related to the upsurge in the cases associated with measles have increased after a small measles outbreak was reported in a South Florida elementary school. The outbreak has prompted the health authorities to urge the parents and guardians to ensure that their ward has received up-to-date vaccines against the disease.

As per the stats shared by the local health authorities, the Manatee Bay Elementary School in Broward County has registered six (6) cases of measles. It is to be noted that the new cases have ranked Florida among the dozens of US states that have been reporting cases associated with measles.

Is the vaccination rate responsible for the increase in the cases?

According to the reports shared by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida has about 91 percent of kindergartners have received the latest doses of the two-dose Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The health authorities have underlined that herd immunity can be achieved if the vaccination rate reaches up to 95 percent; however, it is also noteworthy that it is not possible when the virus is spreading at a high pace.

How does a health expert address the concern?

The reports by Fox 13 have revealed that while addressing the concern about the increasing measles cases, USF Health expert – Dr Thomas Unnasch stated, “A lot of the states now are seeing new vaccination rates in the children in the high 60’s, which means that we’ve got an awful lot of susceptible kids that are out there.”

Visual Representation for rashes caused by Measles | Credits: Google Images

He continued saying, “You’re actually starting to see the effects of the anti-vax movement and the fact that a lot of our children are no longer getting vaccinated for measles.”

In addition to this, Florida Surgeon General – Dr Joseph Ladapo stopped short of urging parents to vaccinate their children, although the Florida Department of Health has alerted the general public about the measles cases this week as the disease is contagious.

Elaborating his take on the current situation, Ladapo wrote, “Due to the high immunity rate in the community, as well as the burden on families and educational cost of healthy children missing school, DOH is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance. This recommendation may change as epidemiological investigations continue,” as per Fox 13.

Health Department’s take on MMR vaccine!

The local health department has underscored that the effectiveness of the MMR vaccine is around 98 percent. However, Ladapo mentioned that 90 percent of people who are non-immune to the virus can contract the virus if exposed.

Representation for dose against Measles | Credits: Getty Images

Additionally, the efficiency of the vaccine was also addressed by the doctors, who told the reporters of Fox 13 that the efficiency and safety of the measles vaccine were discovered decades ago, and the vaccine is a must because it provides lifetime protection after two doses.

Unnasch further mentioned, “When you get measles in your 20s, it’s a much more serious infection than it is when you say, let’s say, five years old.”

The reports by Fox 13 further mentioned that the vaccination rate in Hillsborough County Schools is at 92 percent, and in Pasco County Schools, it is at 95 percent.

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