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While Measles Outbreak Spreads, Florida Is Spared

Photo via Flickr// Apotek Hjartat

Despite the attention given to the recent measles outbreak in California, the disease remains uncommon through the rest of the nation – including Florida.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 102 cases of measles in 14 different states since last month. Florida is not among them, but four people passing through the state, two of them international travelers, were confirmed to have the disease. Ninety-one measles cases were reported in California, most of them linked to an outbreak at Disneyland, and possibly thousands of others have been exposed.

Dr. John Lanza is Director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia, and a board-certified pediatrician. He and other health officials say kids should be immunized against measles with the MMR vaccine, which also protects against mumps and rubella. Two doses are recommended, the first at 12-15 months of age, the second at 4-6 years.

Measles is airborne, spread by breathing, coughing or sneezing, and is highly contagious. Symptoms appear seven to 14 days after exposure. They include a blotchy rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, aches and pains and white spots inside the mouth. The good news for older adults and other who have had a bout with the measles is, you cannot get the disease again, ever.

In Florida, more than 93% of kindergartners are vaccinated against measles. And Dr. John Lanza joins the overwhelming chorus of physicians, who time and again have debunked claims by some anti-vaxxers that the shots could cause autism in children.

Meanwhile, the Florida DOH is working closely with medical providers, to maintain its current level of readiness to identify and respond to any diagnosed cases of measles. in Florida.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.