Measles resurfaces: Orlando Health reports small outbreak, total cases rise to four amidst statewide concerns

Representation for rash caused due to measles | Credits: Shutterstock
Representation for rash caused due to measles | Credits: Shutterstock

United States: A small measles outbreak was reported by Orlando Health at its Central Florida emergency departments in February 2024. The hospital system has reported another confirmed measles case, taking the toll up to four (4).

However, state health officials have further mentioned that, as of now, no official outbreak has been reported in the Orlando area.

While sharing the details about the deceased individuals, a spokesperson for Orlando Health – Lisa Maria Garza, mentioned that one adult case was reported along with three children less than the age of two years old. Accordingly, the health official declined to share any further details.

Florida measles cases!

The state health department has reported a total of ten (10) measles cases in 2024. Out of the total, nine are Broward County residents, and one is from Polk County resident. It is to be noted that most of the Broward cases were linked to a community spread at Manatee Bay Elementary in Weston.

Comments by health experts!

The spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health – Weesam Khoury, has mentioned that, as of now, the health experts are not aware of the community measles spread in Orlando. Khoury has also mentioned, “There is no community outbreak of measles in Orlando.”

Visual Representation for measles virus

“Cases of communicable diseases are not classified as a Florida case if they are not residents. If a non-Florida resident gets a communicable disease outside Florida, it is not a Florida case,” he wrote in an emailed statement, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Khoury mentioned that healthcare providers must always report any suspected measles cases by law to the local county health department or the Department’s Bureau of Epidemiology. After that, the department does secret investigations, including tracing people who might have been in contact. They inform and keep an eye on everyone who might have been exposed.

During this ongoing measles season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported at least 35 measles cases in around 15 states. It is noteworthy that most of the cases were linked to international traveling.

Measles and its root:

The contagious disease was declared eradicated in the United States in the year 2000 after no case had been reported for a long time. The first ever case was reported in Broward County in a third grader at Manatee Bay Elementary. According to the reports, the case was reported on February 16, 2024.

The official reports have mentioned that since then, the disease linked to the disease has increased across the school.

Controversial letter from Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo!

A top health official of Florida, Surgeon General – Joseph Ladapo, shared a letter on February 20 after the cases started increasing. The statement by Surgeon Ladapo read that parents should not keep their children at home, and sending their wards to schools should be totally up to them.

This specific statement by the surgeon drew criticism from both local and state experts.

Previously, while addressing a similar concern, the chief of the Division on Infectious Disease at Nemours Children’s Health in Orlando – Dr Kenneth Alexander, stated, “This advice is contrary to 50 years of really good public health policy. We’re leaving up to parents a decision that parents don’t have the toolset to make,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

While addressing the increasing cases, the Florida Department of Health took X, formerly known as Twitter, to share the statement about the Broward outbreak alongside a fact sheet addressing measles infection.

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