New Measles Cases Confirmed in South Florida Elementary School

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Digital media outlets have reported on the recent discovery of new measles cases at a primary school in a South Florida area.

The reports of more infectious discoveries following a previously detected case have triggered alarms among families in the area, as well as among the parents of students and workers at the educational center. According to the details provided by the media, a first case of measles was confirmed, and the next day three new infections were identified.

The viral disease was detected at Manatee Bay Elementary School, belonging to the Broward County Public Schools district. Regarding this, the spokesperson for the educational institution –John Sullivan– stated that the district is working closely with the Florida Department of Health in Broward County to investigate the measles case at the K-5 school, located at 19200 Manatee Isles Drive, in Weston.

In a statement, Sullivan said: “The health, safety, and well-being of our students, teachers, and employees are always our top priorities at Manatee Bay. The school’s administration is also communicating with families about the situation and taking all necessary precautions in collaboration with the health department’s guidelines.”

The situation is of great concern to the population, as these are new figures added to a list of more than twenty affected individuals. According to statistical data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States (CDC), as of February 15, 2024, eleven jurisdictions (Arizona, Georgia, California, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania) reported a total of 20 measles cases.

Furthermore, according to the Florida Department of Health’s Frequent Disease Report, since the beginning of the school year, there have been five measles cases in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties: one in Miami-Dade in mid-September and the current four cases at Manatee Bay. It is worth clarifying that the Miami-Dade case was not reported in a school.

Measles is a highly contagious and serious disease that spreads easily when the infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes, and the complications from contracting it can be deadly.

It affects people of all ages but is more common in infants, and presents with symptoms of high fever, cough, runny nose, and rash that spreads all over the body, with respiratory tract infection being the first symptom to appear.

The Chief Medical Officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Dr. Ron Ford, has referred to the complexity of the issue, warning that while once infected, the child does not require special treatment for recovery and improvement, there are cases of patients who have reached concerning levels of dehydration.

The CDC states that in the United States, approximately one in five people infected with measles must be hospitalized. In other details, one in 1,000 people could lead to brain inflammation, which translates into harmful effects on the brain, and one in three out of 1,000 infected citizens can die. Therefore, early vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella is the most effective protection.

The situation in South Florida occurs amidst a global increase in infections of this viral disease and, in turn, highlights the need for vaccination, which -according to national figures- is decreasing.

Florida reports a measles vaccination rate of 91.7 percent, highlighting the need for adequate vaccination coverage to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.

Health system specialists warn about the possibility of an increase in cases in the near future, a prognosis that does not offer encouraging news to the American population.

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Haymé Santoya Rodríguez

Licenciada en Historia del Arte por la Universidad de Oriente. Investigadora en Casa de la Nacionalidad Cubana. Se especializa en estudios sobre artes visuales y cine cubano. Ha realizado trabajos de curaduría de arte así como conferencias, presentaciones de libros, conversatorios y disertaciones sobre su especialización. Se ha vinculado al periodismo digital desde el 2018.