Health

Disregarded quarantine helped drive measles outbreak in Philadelphia

Two more cases were confirmed on Monday, the latest in an outbreak that may have exposed people as early as December 19th.

A vial of a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine
Paul Vernon / AP
SMS

At least eight people have been diagnosed with measles in an outbreak that began this month near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Officials say the outbreak has progressed thanks to poor adherence to quarantine directions.

Two more cases were confirmed on Monday, the latest in an outbreak that may have exposed people as early as December 19th.

A child who had been to another country was hospitalized at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where the infection then spread to three other people.

Two of those people were a parent and child. The child was reportedly not vaccinated against measles and the parent reportedly declined medication meant to help prevent infection in unvaccinated people.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health said the child was then sent to day care on two days in December, despite having received quarantine instructions. More people at the day care facility were subsequently infected.

Health officials push to vaccinate schoolchildren as parents opt out
Health officials push to vaccinate schoolchildren as parents opt out

Health officials push to vaccinate schoolchildren as parents opt out

Vaccine waivers for school-age children are reaching record highs in places, and health officials are worried about damage to herd immunity.

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Measles is an extremely infectious disease that has been historically managed in the U.S. thanks to high group vaccination rates.

"Unfortunately, we are seeing cases of measles that have spread to vulnerable individuals including young children due to people declining vaccination and also failing to adhere to quarantine recommendations," said city Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. "Philadelphia is a city where we believe in a duty to take care of each other. We are asking all city residents who may have been exposed to measles to do their part to ensure that no additional infants are harmed by this infection."

The health department urges anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to quarantine themselves away from other people, and to contact their health care provider or pediatrician. The department says it's working to contact everyone who may have been exposed since the beginning of the outbreak.