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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Back-to-School Measles Update

By August 24, 2011

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In addition to a few more reports of exposures, there is an update on the situation in Minnesota.

As a reminder, two unvaccinated toddlers were hospitalized during the week of August 15 after one of them developed measles during a trip to Kenya. Unfortunately, an updated report from an epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health states that one of the children is still in critical condition. The other was discharged from the hospital.

In addition to possible contact from these cases, other possible sources of new measles outbreaks could come from exposure to:

  • an infected passenger on an Amtrak train that traveled from Boston to Virginia on Wednesday, August 17
  • an infected international traveler in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on August 16, who arrived via an Amtrak train from Philadelphia and visited several places, including Riehl's Farm/Quilt Shop, Glick's Roadside Stand, and Amish Experience at Plain and Fancy Farm

As many kids start heading back-to-school, the continued reports of measles are a good reminder to get your kids vaccinated.

Getting your kids vaccinated may be harder to do in some places though. While many health departments are busy giving back-to-school vaccines, some are having to make cuts to who they give shots to or are closing all together. The Health Department in Lubbock, Texas may be closing next week, and while health services may eventually be subcontracted out or absorbed by other departments, there will be a reported 8 day gap in their ability to provide immunizations.

Since we have seen how much it costs to control a measles outbreak, doing anything that makes vaccines less available hardly seems very smart right now. And in the long run,  it definitely isn't a way to save money.

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