Florida Measles Outbreak Expanding

February 27, 2024

According to NBC News, a measles outbreak in Florida appears to be expanding.

As of Monday, eight cases of the virus had been confirmed, with most having a connection to Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. The outbreak in Florida is currently the largest in the United States, NBC reports.

In a letter to parents of student attending Manatee Bay, Florida’s surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo left the decision of quarantining their children up to them. “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 Florida Department of Health is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance,” Ladapo wrote.

Parents were also asked in the letter to watch for symptoms of measles, including high fever, rash, and red, watery eyes.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of Friday, at least 35 cases of measles in 15 states had been reported in 2024, including one recent report of a case in Michigan. Most of those cases were related to international travel. (See Measles Outbreak Linked to Travel, Lack of Vaccinations and Potential Measles Exposure Reported at DC Airports.)

The CDC also reported in November 2023 that 3% of American children entering kindergarten during the 2022–2023 school year were granted a vaccine exemption from their state—an all-time high for U.S. vaccine exemptions.

“More and more people are questioning vaccines and why people need vaccines,” Dr. David Kimberlin, co-director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s division of pediatric infectious diseases, told NBC. “They’re going to find out pretty soon.”

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