Florida Confirms Five Cases of Measles, Cases Now Reported in 11 States

Florida Confirms Five Cases of Measles, Cases Now Reported in 11 States
Measles disease, giant multinucleated cells seen during microscopy of biopsy specimens, known as Warthin-Finkeldey giant cells. (Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock)
Patricia Tolson
2/20/2024
Updated:
2/22/2024
0:00

Florida joins 10 other U.S. states in reporting confirmed cases of measles in recent months.

On Feb. 18, the Department of Health (DOH) in Broward County, Florida issued an advisory, (pdf) stating that it was “investigating multiple cases of measles” at an elementary school in Weston, Florida.”

According to Broward’s DOH, the outbreak was initially reported on Feb. 16 with the first patient being identified as a third-grade student at Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston, about 20 miles west of Fort Lauderdale. The student is said to have no history of travel.

“DOH-Broward is continuously working with all partners, including Broward County Public Schools and local hospitals, to identify contacts that are at risk of transmission,” the advisory stated, adding that healthcare providers in the area “have been notified.”

The Broward DOH further advised that those who have received the full series of the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) immunization are “98 percent protected and are highly unlikely to contract measles.”

These five cases are in addition to those already reported in states across the country.

On Jan. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an emergency alert warning that 23 cases of measles had been confirmed in the United States between Dec. 1, 2023, and Jan. 23, 2024.

These cases included “seven direct importations” by international travelers and two outbreaks with more than five cases each.”

The majority of these cases have been reported to be among children and adolescents who had not been vaccinated against measles, even though they were age-eligible.

Cases by State

In addition to the cases recently reported in Broward County, Florida, other cases have been reported in:
Washington State: On Jan 10, three cases of measles were confirmed in unvaccinated adults in King County.

The advisory also stated that “No known public exposure locations have been identified.”

Missouri: On Jan. 12, Clay County Public Health Center was notified of a confirmed case of measles in a resident of Liberty who had been “at the Kansas City International Airport on Thursday, January 4 and North Kansas City Hospital from January 5–6.”
New Jersey: On Jan 13, the Camden County Health Department said it was “closely monitoring a confirmed case of measles” and that an investigation was underway “to identify contacts and all locations the subject visited while infectious.”

“The source of the infection,” the Camden County Health Department said, “is unknown.”

Georgia: On Jan. 18, the Department of Public Health confirmed a single case of measles in an unvaccinated resident of the metro Atlanta area who had been exposed to the disease while traveling outside of the US.
Pennsylvania: Nine cases were confirmed by the Philadelphia Health Department on Jan. 22.

“While 93 percent of Philadelphia children are vaccinated against measles, it remains a dangerous virus,” the advisory stated.“ The Health Department strongly encourages everyone who is unvaccinated to seek out a vaccine.”

California: On Feb. 1, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed one case of measles when a traveler who had arrived on a Turkish Airlines 009 flight at the Tom Bradley International Airport (TBIT) Terminal B, Gate 157 on January 25, 2024, at 5 p.m. had passed through Los Angeles International (LAX) airport.

“Individuals who were at Terminal B from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. may be at risk of developing measles due to exposure to this traveler,” the advisory stated, adding that “passengers assigned to specific seats that may been exposed on Turkish Airlines 009 on January 25, 2024” and “will be notified by local Departments of Health as well as by the CDC.

Maryland: Also on Feb 1, the Department of Health reported one confirmed case of measles in a Montgomery County resident who had traveled internationally.

Anyone who had passed through specific locations between specified dates and hours was advised they “may have been exposed.”

Ohio: On Feb 3, the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Health confirmed one case of measles in a Montgomery County resident who had been evaluated at Dayton Children’s Hospital on January 29, 2024, and January 31, 2024.

“Individuals in these areas may have been exposed to measles between January 29th at 11 pm and January 30th at 7 am and on January 31st between 10:30 am and 6 pm,“ the advisory stated, adding, ”Contacts of the individual are being notified by Public Health.”

Minnesota: On Feb 7, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed one case of measles (pdf) “in a hospitalized 16-month-old resident of Dakota County” who had traveled internationally. While the child had not been vaccinated for measles, the report stated that “The case was not infectious during travel.”
Arizona: On Feb 10, Maricopa County Public Health confirmed one case, also “involving an international traveler.”

A ‘Growing Global Threat’

In response to the outbreak of these cases, the CDC has advised healthcare providers to “be on alert for patients who have: (1) febrile rash illness and symptoms consistent with measles (e.g., cough, coryza, or conjunctivitis), and (2) have recently traveled abroad, especially to countries with ongoing measles outbreaks. Infected people are contagious from 4 days before the rash starts through 4 days afterward.”

Healthcare providers are further advised that patients suspected of having measles should be isolated immediately, “ideally in a single-patient airborne infection isolation room (AIIR) if available, or in a private room with a closed door until an AIIR is available.”
Cases are to be reported to the state’s health department and directly to the CDC.

According to the CDC, cases of measles in the US “often originate from unvaccinated or under-vaccinated” residents “who travel internationally and then transmit the disease to people who are not vaccinated against measles.”

“The increased number of measles importations seen in recent weeks is reflective of a rise in global measles cases and a growing global threat from the disease,” the CDC said.

In response to an inquiry by The Epoch Times regarding the confirmation of any additional cases and how the Department will contain the spread of the disease, Florida DOH deputy press secretary Grant Kemp said: “The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is continuously working with all partners to identify close contacts, including Broward County Public Schools and local hospitals. Pursuant to Section 381.0031(6), F.S., all information contained in epidemiological investigations is confidential. This includes details regarding cases or exposures.”

“Due to the high immunity rate in the community, as well as the burden on families and educational cost of healthy children missing school,” Mr. Kemp said. “The Surgeon General has deferred the decision to keep children home from school to parents/guardians. Broward County School District has prepared to provide continuous learning to children at Manatee Bay Elementary whose parents/guardians choose to keep them at home until the end of the infectious period. At this time, the infectious period ends March 7, 2024 - this is subject to change. The Surgeon General’s recommendation may change as epidemiological investigations continue.”

Patricia Tolson, an award-winning national investigative reporter with 20 years of experience, has worked for such news outlets as Yahoo!, U.S. News, and The Tampa Free Press. With The Epoch Times, Patricia’s in-depth investigative coverage of human interest stories, election policies, education, school boards, and parental rights has achieved international exposure. Send her your story ideas: [email protected]
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