Philadelphia officials warn of growing measles outbreak

Officials from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health are reporting a cluster of measles cases in unvaccinated individuals, according to a Jan. 5 news release. 

According to the department, 93% of individuals in the city are vaccinated against the virus, but it can be deadly for those who are not. 

So far, there have been eight cases in the city — five confirmed cases and three probable ones — and officials believe the index case originated at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Cheryl Bettigole, MD, Philadelphia Health Commissioner told WPVI, an ABC News affiliate. The two most recently confirmed cases occurred after individuals decided not to follow quarantine protocols, she confirmed.

The outbreak is growing and is "a major event," Dr. Bettigole told CBS News. So far, three children have had to be hospitalized due to the outbreak. 

Officials believe the outbreak began after an infant who was too young to be vaccinated was taken out of the U.S. for travel and returned and was hospitalized with a case which then spread to other patients. One child who was hospitalized with a case was sent home, but still with symptoms attended daycare anyway, exposing additional patients, which is why health officials think there is potential for other cases to be out there, according to CBS.

Vaccination uptake since the COVID-19 pandemic, even for routine vaccines like measles, mumps and rubella, have fallen, particularly in school-aged children who are often required to obtain them. 

Six locations of possible exposure were also identified by health officials in the release, along with guidelines for quarantining for those who may have been exposed. 

"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," Dr. Bettigole stated in a news release. "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."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars