Utah Department of Health declares end of measles outbreak

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The Utah Department of Health declared the end of Utah’s measles outbreak after the first measles cases were identified in January.

The outbreak was traced back to individuals who had traveled to Disney California Adventure Park in mid-December. A total of three measles cases were confirmed in Utah. An additional 133 people in seven other states were also linked to the same outbreak, the Center for Disease Control reported.

The three Utah cases put nearly 400 additional residents at risk for infection, according to the Utah Department of Health. The individuals were contacted to asses their immunization status; as a result, 117 individuals were placed in a voluntary 21-day quarantine.

Public health staff dedicated time to laboratory testing, monitoring quarantined individuals and administering the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine or immunoglobulin to at-risk individuals. Employees spent nearly 3,000 hours working during the outbreak.

Utah Department of Health administered 586 doses of the MMR vaccine, nearly five times the normal amount, in one month. Direct cost of the outbreak response efforts totaled $115,000. The outbreak has served as a costly reminder that vaccination is important, for the Utah Department of Health and the affected individuals.

Vaccination directly protects the person being vaccinated as well as others who cannot be vaccinated because of age or medical conditions. Measles outbreaks are especially unusual because the vaccine is 95 percent effective, said Utah County Health executive director Dr. Joseph Miner. “Anyone who chooses not to immunize is making a conscious decision to be a threat to other people who are not immunized,” Miner said. “It is very much a public health issue.”

The Utah Department of Health said anyone not fully vaccinated runs the risk of being exposed and beginning another disease outbreak in Utah.

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