Measles Cases Are Still Rising in Florida Alongside a Global Surge 

( — Distrust and suspicion regarding the medical industry is rising around the world, and experts are still struggling to understand why while also trying to win back people’s trust in public health. Many experts are blaming historical events or poor health outcomes, but neither explain why distrust is higher now than it was before. Whatever the true reasons may be, Americans are not meeting the vaccination standards that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say are required for effective herd immunity.

The Broward County School District in Florida confirmed that a student had been infected with measles on Friday, February 16, and there have been at least 7 more cases since then. Health officials recommend 21 days of quarantine for measles infections. Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo has been widely criticized for not emphasizing this in his recent press release, instead suggesting that it was up to parents to decide how long to keep their children home from school. The learning losses from school closures continue to affect students even years later, which may have made many parents reluctant to keep children home for almost a month.

Associate professor at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, Jill Roberts, commented that childhood vaccinations slowed following the pandemic, but she feels people may not be aware that measles can have serious, or even fatal, outcomes. Measles is extremely easy to contract with exposure, with a 90% chance among unvaccinated people. It also has a 2-week incubation period, which means people can be exposed to it by a carrier who does not even know they have it.

While public health officials recommend a vaccination rate of 95% of the populace, Florida’s schoolchildren are currently about 91% vaccinated against measles. Vaccinations are actually up worldwide, but there has been an increase in measles cases of about 18%, with an increase in measles-related deaths of 43%. While not usually fatal, measles can cause permanent deafness. A full regimen of the vaccine is 98% effective against measles, making it one of the most successful vaccines in existence.

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