Measles Cases Spread at South Florida Elementary School

Health officials confirm six infections in Broward County, along with other recent, possible exposures at airports in Cincinnati and Washington.
Measles Cases Spread at South Florida Elementary School
A microscopic image of the measles virus taken in 1972. (CDC/Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr.)
Jack Phillips

Six people have been diagnosed with measles at a school in Weston, Florida, according to state officials.

The Florida Department of Health this past week sent a notice to healthcare providers in Broward County after a third-grade pupil at Manatee Bay Elementary School with no travel history was diagnosed with the virus.

Three other measles cases were later confirmed on Feb. 17, one on Feb. 19, and one on Feb. 20, officials said.

Because “measles are highly contagious,” the county health department “is notifying facilities that the patient may have visited, individuals who may have been exposed, and you, health care providers in Broward County,” the notice added.

The ages or grades of the other cases were not revealed by officials. But in an advisory on Feb. 18, the health department said that it is “working with all partners, including Broward County Public Schools and local hospitals, to identify contacts that are at risk of transmission.”
And on Feb. 20, it was confirmed that the total number of cases is up to six, John Sullivan, communications and legislative affairs officer for Broward County Public Schools, said in a statement.

“We expect to receive further guidance from the Florida Department of Health tomorrow and will continue to keep the school and its families updated with the latest information,” he told news outlets, adding that the district “is maintaining close coordination with the Health Department to address this ongoing situation.”

The district responded by taking “further preventive measures by conducting a deep cleaning of the school premises and replacing its air filters,” the statement continued. It also is “maintaining close coordination” with the state health department to “address this ongoing situation,” the statement said.

Mr. Sullivan added that health officials are also “actively communicating with families, ensuring they are kept up to date with the latest information.”

On Feb. 20, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo wrote in a letter to Manatee Bay parents that in cases where there is a high chance of infection, students should stay at home. The infectious period would likely be over by March 7, he added, according to USA Today.

“However, due to the high immunity rate in the community, as well as the burden on families and educational cost of healthy children missing school, (the Department of Health) is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance,” Mr. Ladapo said.

“This recommendation may change as epidemiological investigations continue.”


The virus typically shows up in two stages. At first, most people develop a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, a runny nose, watery red eyes, or a cough. These symptoms generally start from seven to 14 days after exposure.

The second stage starts about two to three days after initial symptoms. Some people develop what are known as Koplik spots—tiny white spots inside the mouth, according to the CDC.

Three to five days after the first symptoms begin, the telltale measles rash starts to appear on the patient’s face near the hairline area before it spreads downward to the rest of the body.

The CDC last month issued a notice for healthcare providers to “stay alert for measles cases” following several outbreaks. Between Dec. 1, 2023, and Jan. 23 of this year, it received reports of 23 confirmed measles cases, “including seven direct importations of measles by international travelers and two outbreaks with more than five cases each.”

“Do not allow patients with suspected measles to remain in the waiting room or other common areas of the healthcare facility; isolate patients with suspected measles immediately, ideally in a single-patient airborne infection isolation room,” the agency said.

An alternative is to wait in a private room that has a closed door.

“Healthcare providers should be adequately protected against measles and should adhere to standard and airborne precautions when evaluating suspect cases regardless of their vaccination status,” the CDC said.

Other Incidents

Earlier this month, authorities in Ohio warned that some travelers at the Cincinnati airport in late January may have been exposed to measles.

The Ohio Department of Health said that people who were in Terminal A of the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport on Jan. 27 between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. and on Jan. 29 between 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. may have been exposed to the virus.

In January, health officials in Washington and Virginia issued separate notices about a “case of measles in a person who traveled through” local airports after returning from “international travel.”

That person traveled to Dulles International Airport in the international arrivals area of the main terminal between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. local time on Wednesday, Jan. 3, as well as at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport’s Terminal A between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, Jan. 4, according to the health agencies.

Aside from those incidents, measles cases have been reported in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Missouri, Delaware, and Washington state in recent weeks, according to various media reports.

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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