Measles outbreak raises concerns in Central Florida: Ninth case reported, concerns raised

Measles outbreak raises concerns in Central Florida | Credits: Adobestock
Measles outbreak raises concerns in Central Florida | Credits: Adobestock

United States: Central Florida has been dealing with a cluster of measles-related cases. Recently, the Florida Department of Health, Polk County, reported its ninth case over the weekend.

According to the preliminary information shared by the health authorities, the recently reported case was the first-ever adult measles case in Florida this year. The authorities have further revealed that the patient is aged between 20 to 24 years, and the case emerged because of traveling across borders.

The case have been reported after eight (8) children and teenagers contracted measles in Broward County, and following the same, health officials are expressing concern. The reported cases in the initial two months of 2024 already make up over 50% of the total cases reported last year, according to the reports by Fox13 News.

Comments by experts!

The concern linked to the increasing number of cases was addressed by an associate professor from the University of South Florida College of Public Health – Jill Roberts, who mentioned, “Following the pandemic, we actually had some drops in childhood vaccinations, and so what you get is a kind of perfect storm. You have people who are not vaccinated increasing worldwide, and then you also have a virus that can spread incredibly easily.”

In addition to this, Roberts emphasized the importance of vaccines against the contagious virus which causes measles. She highlighted that the unvaccinated population is 90 percent more likely to get exposed to the infection compared to the vaccinated and healthy population.

Visual Representation for measles testing

The United States has been dealing with measles outbreaks since 2019, and while addressing the same, Roberts highlighted that at that time, 10 percent of the cases led to hospitalizations.

Roberts was quoted saying, “Don’t mess around with measles. It can be very serious in cases where it does progress to a serious disease; it can lead to deafness, disability, and death. I always recommend people to talk to that trusted health care provider and get some good information,” according to the reports by Fox13.

Controversial statement by Florida Surgeon amid the outbreak!

According to various reports, the health officials during an outbreak suggest infected individuals quarantine for at least 21 days, especially for those who are unvaccinated. However, the Florida Surgeon General, Dr Joseph Ladapo, shared different views on the same in a news release. He asked the parents and guardians to send their unvaccinated kids to school despite the outbreak.

Following the remark, he experienced backlash from many of the doctors in Florida.  

While addressing the same, Roberts mentioned that the parents of the unvaccinated children must be extra vigilant, according to Fox13. “Recognize the symptoms of that rash. If you’ve got a kid with a rash and a fever, you’re going to want to go ahead and have that evaluated as soon as possible,” Roberts stated.

Is the vaccination rate in Florida up to the mark?

Representation for vaccine against measles

According to the reports, the vaccination rate among the kindergartners of Florida is 91 percent – which is lower than the recommendation of the CDC, i.e., 95 percent. Roberts further asked the parents of the children to ask their doctor for any vaccine-related questions.