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HomeNewsPhiladelphia Accuses Residents Refusing Vaccines of Fueling Measles Outbreak

Philadelphia Accuses Residents Refusing Vaccines of Fueling Measles Outbreak

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A child receiving measles vaccination
Source: Philadelphia Public Health/X

Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health is raising the alarm about a recent measles outbreak in the city. Public health officials are attributing the spread of measles to people’s indifference to vaccination offers and quarantine suggestions. 

So far, public health officials have confirmed four measles cases in Philadelphia. According to the officials, three other cases tested positive to the measles virus after coming in contact with the first known case of this recent outbreak. 

The spread started in late December after public health officials confirmed a likely exposure to an index measles patient. After the public notice, the official advised everyone who had potential contact with the first identified case to self-isolate. However, the advice to quarantine and treat the already infected patients while stopping the spread probably went unheeded. 

In fact, Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health went as far as publishing the buildings where the cases were identified. Also, they highlighted the likely exposure times in each of the said buildings. By inference, the advice for everyone present in the buildings at the earmarked times, vaccinated or not, is self-isolation. 

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However, public health officials are not relenting in their efforts to trace contacts at the six buildings. Five of the buildings are hospitals, and the sixth is a daycare. These buildings and the times when a contaminating contact may have occurred are listed below: 

  1. Between Dec. 31 and Jan. 03, Emergency Department and inpatient unit 5 North of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. 
  2. On Dec. 28, an exposure was at the Emergency Room of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 
  3. The Nazareth Hospital Emergency Room exposure occurred between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2.
  4. On Dec. 19, between 1400hr and 1730 hr, Jefferson Health building reported a high potential exposure. 
  5. The Multicultural Education Station Day Care at Castor Avenue was also exposed to a measle case on Dec. 20 and 21.

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For Cheryl Bettigole, the city’s health commissioner, the greatest concern is the potential exposure of vulnerable residents to the virus. Nonetheless, the officials of the public health department are giving priority to care for human lives. Non-compliance with vaccination offers and quarantine suggestions is not an excuse for denying infected residents Healthcare. 

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Also, the officials are confident that if there were to be an outbreak of measles in Philadelphia, the impact would be minimal. This is because a very high percentage of the city’s residents are vaccinated against measles. At least 93% of children above six years residing in Philadelphia have received vaccination for measles. 

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So, whatever measure or alarm is being raised is for the minority. Many people in this lot are avoiding vaccination, probably for religious reasons. In other cases, some just find it challenging to self-quarantine after a potential exposure. The common excuse is that they have to make a living. 

Nonetheless, measles remains a very virulent and dangerous disease, as it is airborne. An infected individual can spread the disease in a large open-air location by just coughing or sneezing. Some common symptoms of measles are a runny nose, high fever, and cough.

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