Measles Outbreak in Philadelphia Area Grows to 8 Patients

Jan. 9, 2024
Health officials urge vaccination among the unvaccinated, comprising about 7% of Philadelphia children

A measles outbreak in the Philadelphia area has grown to 8 confirmed cases, as of a Jan. 8 news release from the city’s health department.

The Philadelphia department of health has listed several exposure sites, last updated Jan. 3, revealing that many of the exposures occurred at hospitals or other care centers, with one day care also making the list.

The health department also listed several key facts about measles in a news release, mainly that “about 90% of people who have close contact with an infected person will get measles if they’re not vaccinated.” They mention that 93% of Philadelphia children are vaccinated against measles and “strongly encourages everyone who is unvaccinated to seek out a vaccine.” Three of the city’s health centers are offering walk-in MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccines free of copay or fee in an attempt to reach those who remain unvaccinated. Unvaccinated people tend to be the vector for clusters of measles outbreaks, according to the CDC, as reported by WHYY.

According to the health department in Philadelphia, “about 1 in 5 unvaccinated people who gets measles in the United States is hospitalized,” and “as many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.” Encephalitis is also developed in approximately “1 out of every 1,000” children who get measles, which can “lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability.” Additionally, nearly “1 to 3 of every 1,000 children who become infected with measles will die from respiratory and neurologic complications.”

Partially to blame for lack of vaccination among some children is “growing vaccine hesitancy since a debunked study falsely linked the MMR vaccine to autism,” write Dr. Angela Zhang and Dr. Jade Cobern in an article for ABC News. Dr. Danielle Zerr, medical director for infection prevention at Seattle Children’s Hospital, stresses the importance of providing families with “data-driven evidence and stories that illustrate why it’s so important to be vaccinated.”

The health department urges “anyone who may have been exposed to measles” to “quarantine themselves by staying home and away from others.” Those who are immune to measles include those born before 1957, those who have already had measles, and those who have received two doses of measles-containing vaccines and are not immune-compromised. According to the ABC News article, “all confirmed cases are among non-immune individuals.”

The article from WHYY has more information.