State and local health departments overwhelmed by measles cases: 4 things to know

Measles outbreaks have overwhelmed the resources of state and local health departments in 28 states, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Four things to know:

1. Officials at local and state health departments are primarily responsible for tracing and stopping measles outbreaks. They try to determine when and where each patient may have spread the disease.

2. Health officials notify all known contacts of infected patients, post notices, review security footage and scour hospital records to identify those exposed to the disease, among other tasks. Such efforts drain time and resources away from health departments' normal tasks, such as food inspections and the tracking of other diseases.

3. Officials sometimes provide a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to unvaccinated individuals exposed to measles patients. A vaccine received up to 72 hours following measles exposure can still be effective in preventing the disease.

4. Measles outbreaks also strain government funding. The majority of the over 1,000 measles cases reported so far this year have occurred in New York, where outbreaks since September 2018 will likely cost the state up to $18.4 million.

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