Florida's Measles Outbreak

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Florida is Defying the Cdc’s Guidelines During a Measles Outbreak, Informing Parents that It’s Acceptable to Send Unvaccinated Children to School​

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo’s decision to allow unvaccinated children to attend school during a measles outbreak has sparked controversy and concern among health experts. Ladapo’s memo, which defers to parents’ decisions regarding school attendance, goes against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice, which recommends that unvaccinated students stay home for three weeks after exposure to measles.

Measles is highly contagious and can lead to serious complications, including hospitalization and death. The CDC advises vaccination as the best protection against the disease, and most people who are not vaccinated are at risk of contracting measles if exposed to the virus. Despite the safety and effectiveness of the measles vaccine, some parents choose not to vaccinate their children, leading to pockets of vulnerability in communities. The decision to allow unvaccinated children to attend school during a measles outbreak has raised concerns about public health and community safety.

Health experts stress the importance of vaccination in preventing the spread of measles and protecting vulnerable populations, such as infants and those with compromised immune systems. In response to the outbreak, Broward County’s local health department has been offering measles vaccines at affected schools. Vaccination within three days of exposure can significantly reduce the risk of contracting measles and spreading it to others. The controversy over Ladapo’s decision highlights the ongoing debate surrounding vaccination and public health policy. While some argue for individual rights and parental choice, others emphasize the importance of community protection and the role of vaccination in preventing infectious diseases.
 

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With a brief memo, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has subverted a public health standard that's long kept measles outbreaks under control. On Feb. 20, as measles spread through Manatee Bay Elementary in South Florida, Ladapo sent parents a letter granting them permission to send unvaccinated children to school amid the outbreak. The Department of Health "is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance," wrote Ladapo, who was appointed to head the agency by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose name is listed above Ladapo's in the letterhead. Ladapo's move contradicts advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is not a parental rights issue," said Scott Rivkees, Florida's former surgeon general who is now a professor at Brown University. "It's about protecting fellow classmates, teachers, and members of the community against measles, which is a very serious and very transmissible illness."
Most people who aren't protected by a vaccine will get measles if they're exposed to the virus. This vulnerable group includes children whose parents don't get them vaccinated, infants too young for the vaccine, those who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons, and others who don't mount a strong, lasting immune response to it. Rivkees estimates that about a tenth of people in a community fall into the vulnerable category. The CDC advises that unvaccinated students stay home from school for three weeks after exposure. Because the highly contagious measles virus spreads on tiny droplets through the air and on surfaces, students are considered exposed simply by sitting in the same cafeteria or classroom as someone infected. And a person with measles can pass along an infection before they develop a fever, cough, rash, or other signs of the illness. About 1 in 5 people with measles end up hospitalized, 1 in 10 develop ear infections that can lead to permanent hearing loss, and about 1 in 1,000 die from respiratory and neurological complications. "I don't know why the health department wouldn't follow the CDC recommendations," said Thresia Gambon, president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a pediatrician who practices in Miami and Broward, the county affected by the current measles outbreak. "Measles is so contagious. It is very worrisome."

Considering the dangers of the disease, the vaccine is incredibly safe. A person is about four times as likely to die from being struck by lightning during their lifetime in the United States as to have a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. Nonetheless, last year a record number of parents filed for exemptions from school vaccine requirements on religious or philosophical grounds across the United States. The CDC reported that childhood immunization rates hit a 10-year low. In addition to Florida, measles cases have been reported in 11 other states this year, including Arizona, Georgia, Minnesota, and Virginia. Only about a quarter of Florida's counties had reached the 95% threshold at which communities are considered well protected against measles outbreaks, according to the most recent data posted by the Florida Department of Health in 2022. In Broward County, where six cases of measles have been reported over the past week, about 92% of children in kindergarten had received routine immunizations against measles, chickenpox, polio, and other diseases. The remaining 8% included more than 1,500 kids who had vaccine exemptions, as of 2022. Broward's local health department has been offering measles vaccines at Manatee Bay Elementary since the outbreak began, according to the county school superintendent. If an unvaccinated person gets a dose within three days of exposure to the virus, they're far less likely to get measles and spread it to others.

For this reason, government officials have occasionally mandated vaccines in emergencies in the past. For example, Philadelphia's deputy health commissioner in 1991 ordered children to get vaccinated against their parents' wishes during outbreaks traced to their faith-healing churches. And during a large measles outbreak among Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn in 2019, the New York City health commissioner mandated that anyone who lived, worked, or went to school in hard-hit neighborhoods get vaccinated or face a fine of $1,000. In that ordinance, the commissioner wrote that the presence of anyone lacking the vaccine in those areas, unless it was medically contraindicated, "creates an unnecessary and avoidable risk of continuing the outbreak."
Ladapo moved in the opposite direction with his letter, deferring to parents because of the "high immunity rate in the community," which data contradicts, and because of the "burden on families and educational cost of healthy children missing school." Yet the burden of an outbreak only grows larger as cases of measles spread, requiring more emergency care, more testing, and broader quarantines as illness and hospitalizations mount. Curbing a 2018 outbreak in southern Washington with 72 cases cost about $2.3 million, in addition to $76,000 in medical costs, and an estimated $1 million in economic losses due to illness, quarantine, and caregiving. If numbers soar, death becomes a burden, too. An outbreak among a largely unvaccinated population in Samoa caused more than 5,700 cases and 83 deaths, mainly among children.

Ladapo's letter to parents also marks a departure from the norm because local health departments tend to take the lead on containing measles outbreaks, rather than state or federal authorities. In response to queries from KFF Health News, Broward County's health department deferred to Florida's state health department, which Ladapo oversees.

"The county doesn't have the power to disagree with the state health department," said Rebekah Jones, a data scientist who was removed from her post at the Florida health department in 2020, over a rift regarding coronavirus data. DeSantis, a Republican, appointed Ladapo as head of the state health department in late 2021, as DeSantis integrated skepticism about COVID vaccines into his political platform. In the months that followed, Florida's health department removed information on COVID vaccines from its homepage, and reprimanded a county health director for encouraging his staff to get the vaccines, leading to his resignation. In January, the health department website posted Ladapo's call to halt vaccination with COVID mRNA vaccines entirely, based on notions that scientists call implausible. Jones was not surprised to see Ladapo pivot to measles. "I think this is the predictable outcome of turning fringe, anti-vaccine rhetoric into a defining trait of the Florida government," she said. Although his latest decision runs contrary to CDC advice, the federal agency rarely intervenes in measles outbreaks, entrusting the task to states. In an email to KFF Health News, the Florida health department said it was working with others to identify the contacts of people with measles, but that details on cases and places of exposure were confidential. It repeated Ladapo's decision, adding, "The surgeon general's recommendation may change as epidemiological investigations continue." For Gambon, the outbreak is already disconcerting. "I would like to see the surgeon general promote what is safest for children and for school staff," she said, "since I am sure there are many who might not have as strong immunity as we would hope."
 

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Measles cases continue growing in Florida​

More children have come down with measles in Florida after the state's surgeon general defied federal guidelines by not urging parents to vaccinate their children against the highly contagious virus or to keep unvaccinated students at home. Why it matters: Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo's stand is an escalation of how conservative officials are flouting public health norms as measles cases surge worldwide, with 15 states reporting cases this year.

Driving the news: Two newly reported infections in Broward County, of a child younger than 5 and another between ages 5 and 9, brought the reported number of cases to eight since Ladapo contradicted federal and medical professional guidance to contain the spread of the disease, per USA Today.
  • After at least six cases were confirmed at Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston, Ladapo told parents in a letter that the state's health department was deferring to them for "decisions about school attendance" for unvaccinated children.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that unvaccinated students stay home for three weeks after they are exposed — with exposure considered being in the same classroom because of the way measles is transmitted in the air and on surfaces.
  • Around 200 students didn't show up for class on Tuesday or Wednesday, a sign that parents may have decided to keep them home for online classes, according to CBS News.
The return of measles is the "canary in the coalmine" for the country's ability to fight the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccine expert Paul Offit told Axios earlier this month.
  • The CDC in January issued an alert to physicians after reports of nearly two dozen preventable cases since December. They were told to look for patients with rash and fever and to pay attention to patients who've recently traveled abroad.
 

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Florida’s Measles Outbreak Worsens with Confirmation of its Youngest Case Ever​

The spread of measles in Florida is escalating, as on Friday, officials from Broward County’s health department confirmed the seventh case in a child under 5. This patient marks the youngest individual affected in this outbreak and represents the first case identified outside the confines of Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston, close to Fort Lauderdale. The connection between the youngest measles case and the school remains unclear, yet the spread of the virus to individuals beyond school age was anticipated. As Dr. David Kimberlin, co-director of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, explained, cases are “not going to stay contained just to that one school, not when a virus is this infectious.”

In 2024, up to February 22, there have been 35 reported cases of measles across 15 different jurisdictions, including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. The 35 measles cases reported were predominantly linked to international travel. In Pennsylvania alone, January saw nine cases, with eight of those in Philadelphia. Should there be no further cases reported there by early next week, the Philadelphia outbreak will be considered over.

Adding to the tally, Michigan’s health department announced late Friday its first measles case since 2019.

Florida is currently facing the largest measles outbreak in the U.S., and the actions (or inactions) of Florida’s health officials are attracting criticism from experts in disease transmission. Measles, known for its high contagion rate and lengthy incubation period, is at the center of a controversial decision by Dr. Joseph Ladapo, the state’s Surgeon General. He has given parents the choice to either quarantine their children or continue sending them to school, a move experts believe could contribute to the spread of the virus. Unvaccinated individuals have a 90% chance of infection upon exposure.

Katelyn Jetelina, who monitors illnesses for “Your Local Epidemiologist,” emphasizes the fundamental rule of epidemiology: to identify and isolate, especially in the case of measles.
She notes that infected individuals can be contagious for up to three weeks. Dr. David Kimberlin echoes this sentiment, highlighting measles as the most infectious human pathogen, likening it to a “heat-seeking missile” targeting the unvaccinated.

Dr. Joseph Ladapo, addressing parents at an elementary school, stated that due to the high immunity rate in the community and the negative impact on families and education from healthy children missing school, the Department of Health (DOH) is leaving the decision on school attendance to parents or guardians. The letter advised parents to watch for measles symptoms like high fever, rash, and red, watery eyes but stopped short of advocating for vaccination.

This approach contrasts sharply with that of Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus, Ohio’s Health Commissioner, during a measles outbreak in 2022. She sent out a letter with a notably different tone. The outbreak in Ohio affected 85 children, mostly unvaccinated toddlers, and led to nearly half being hospitalized. Roberts advised administering the MMR vaccine to unvaccinated children exposed to measles as a form of “post-exposure prophylaxis,” which significantly cut down the quarantine time from 21 days to 72 hours for those who received the vaccine. Contrary to expectations of a six-month struggle, the outbreak was controlled in three months, with Roberts attributing this efficiency to following standard public health practices of identifying and isolating patients and clearly communicating actions to the public.

The measles outbreak in Florida highlights a troubling situation, with many students at an elementary school being vulnerable, and some of them have siblings too young for full vaccination. This concern is compounded by a recent uptick in vaccine exemptions in Florida. This situation coincides with a national increase in vaccine exemptions. A CDC report from November revealed that 3% of children entering kindergarten in the 2022-2023 school year received a state-granted vaccine exemption, marking the highest exemption rate ever recorded in the U.S.
 

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Those that don't die or be brain damaged for the rest of their lives you mean?
 

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7th measles case confirmed in outbreak linked to elementary school in this state​

The seventh case of measles linked to an outbreak at a Florida elementary school was confirmed by Health officials Tuesday. Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) said it was informed by the Florida Department of Health – Broward of the additional case at Mantatee Bay Elementary in Weston, which is 20 miles west of Fort Lauderdale. The infected patient has not physically been on campus since Feb. 15, and the district and school are continuing to work with the health department regarding the confirmed cases, according to a statement from the school district. Dr. Peter Licata, superintendent for BCPS, said in an update on Tuesday that no other schools in the district have been impacted by measles cases.

"We are continuing to do daily cleaning on school busses and the facility above and beyond our normal cleaning," he said. "We do have additional vaccination opportunities, which are available online, and we want to thank the administration and the teachers and all the staff at Manatee Bay for their continued dedication to the school whereas we had, as of this morning, only 82 students absent. Form a week ago, we were up to 220, I believe, 219."

The initial case was confirmed earlier this month in a third-grade student with no travel history. However, it is unclear which grades the other infected students are in as well as other identifying information about them, including age, sex and race/ethnicity. BCPS did not immediately reply to ABC News' request for comment.

Currently, Florida has a total of 10 confirmed measles cases with nine confirmed in Broward County and one confirmed in Polk County, according to the Florida Department of Health. This year, there have been at least 35 measles cases reported in 15 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, meaning the disease "is no longer constantly present in this country." The dip in routine childhood vaccinations in recent years -- as well as travelers bringing measles into the country -- has resulted in outbreaks. The first measles vaccine, a single-dose vaccine, was introduced in the U.S. in 1963. In the decade prior, there were three to four million cases annually, which led to 48,000 hospitalizations and 400 to 500 deaths. The current two-dose measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine recommended by the CDC is 93% effective after one dose and 97% effective after two doses.
 

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Editorial: Florida shows how to bungle a measles outbreak​

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As life-saving as the COVID-19 vaccines have been, the measles vaccine has been an even greater success story. Before the vaccine was developed in 1963, outbreaks that occurred every two to three years were killing 2.6 million people worldwide a year, most of them children. Others developed pneumonia, or suffered brain injury and deafness from measles-associated encephalitis. It’s an incredibly contagious airborne disease. Put a person with measles in a room with 100 other people and 90 of them will be infected. But the vaccine is even more effective than the disease is transmissible. If all 100 people in that room were vaccinated, only four would be infected.

So it’s especially disheartening to observe the new measles cases in Floridaeight and growing at last count. It's not the biggest measles outbreak in recent years, but the ho-hum attitude of the state’s top public health official, Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, is deeply troubling. Most of the cases so far have been among students at an elementary school in Broward County. But one is a preschooler — an extremely dangerous age for complications — whose connection to the school is unclear. Something like this was bound to happen. Measles is infectious from four days before the telltale rash appears to four days after. That means parents often don’t know when their child might be infected and capable of transmitting the virus to others in and out of school.

Florida has a reasonable law requiring vaccination for children to attend private or public school. Unlike California, which allows exemptions only for children with legitimate health reasons, Florida lets parents opt out for religious beliefs, a common loophole throughout the country. And the vaccination rates at the elementary school in question was higher than the national average, at 97%.

The problem in quelling this outbreak, though, is the lackadaisical attitude of Ladapo, who has earned notoriety by promoting COVID-19 vaccine skepticism. Last month, he called for a halt to using mRNA vaccines to fight COVID-19. Still it was shocking that in the midst of the outbreak, he ignored the public health standard set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which calls for isolating unvaccinated people for 21 days after possible exposure, and is allowing parents to decide whether to send their unvaccinated kids to school. He didn't even encourage parents of unvaccinated children to get a quick, preventive dose.

It’s a reprehensible endangerment of students at the affected school and the broader community, including babies too young to have been vaccinated. Children with compromised immune systems are at particular risk because they cannot safely be vaccinated. That includes children who are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.

A vaccine effectiveness rate of 96% is superb, but it still means that about 4% of children don’t get immunity from their shots. That’s why public health officials rely on “herd immunity,” meaning enough members of a community have been vaccinated to keep measles at bay. The reason more unvaccinated children haven’t been sickened in this country is because there are enough parents who do the right thing, vaccinate their kids and thus protect the other kids around them. But that may not be the case for long. Vaccine skeptics like Ladapo have been chipping away at Americans' confidence in vaccines in recent years.

Outbreaks can happen even in a community with high vaccination rates — which is the case in this Florida school. But widespread vaccination — and proper isolation protocols — keep them small. Measles is not a minor inconvenience of childhood, and Ladapo’s let’s-downplay-the-science approach is not the way to protect the health of Florida’s children.
 

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Florida lawmaker: State's top medical official should be removed for his mishandling of measles​

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on Tuesday held a press conference at her Sunrise, Fla., office to address the ongoing measles outbreak while calling for the state's surgeon general to be removed. The first measles case was reported February 16 and cases continue to rise as a 9th case of the measles was identified Tuesday. This comes after Dr. Joseph Ladapo -- a 2021 Gov. Ron DeSantis appointee -- deferred medical judgment to parents over CDC recommendations on how to best confront an outbreak. The CDC recommends that parents keep unvaccinated children home for as long as 21 days -- which is the incubation period for measles.

Wasserman-Schultz -- the former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman -- said Florida leaders "are failing us on this front" during Tuesday's press conference, during which she called Florida's surgeon general a "misinformation super-spreader." It was reported Monday that 216 Broward County school students were absent from school, with an average being about 100 for a school of that size.

Wasserman-Schultz said Ladapo "needs to go" while calling his policy approaches dangerous.

The school district said of their 1,067 students, 33 students in Manatee Bay do not have at least a single shot of the required two-doses vaccine for measles.
Ladapo, Wasserman-Schultz said, "stands in stark contrast to America's proud legacy of bipartisan public health success."

She said he "politicizes public health and peddles risky freedom of choice rhetoric," which fuels anti-vaccine hesitancy. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Thursday there are a total of 35 cases of measles reported in 15 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. Dr. Mary Jo Trepka, chair of Florida International University's Epidemiology Department, called measles "highly contagious" and "a very serious disease" while she outlined symptoms. "It used to be a major killer," she said while standing next to the Florida congresswoman.

Florida PTA legislative chair Latha Krishnaiyer said the measles vaccine is "proven to be an effective tool" and advised parents to follow the most recent CDC measles guidelines.

Broward County's school district says 92% of their student body is vaccinated, which leaves approximately 88 of their students unvaccinated for measles. But a health expert says that mark is not sufficient enough. "The problem that we have seen is when there's a drop in herd immunity," Dr. Hamadys Ale, a pediatric immunologist at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, told NBC Miami. By not vaccinating all students, Ale said, that "is something we have seen a trend on, the herd immunity has been declining and that is the window in which the virus can take advantage and infect the ones that are vulnerable."
 

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Map shows falling childhood vaccination rates in Florida as state faces measles outbreak​

A measles outbreak in Florida has gripped the state, with confirmed cases popping in two counties even as the state's top doctor flouts federal health guidance. Nine total cases have been confirmed across Broward and Polk counties, according to the Florida Department of Health. Amidst the outbreak, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has contradicted medical guidance by telling parents they could decide whether or not to send their kids back to the schools with confirmed cases. Ladapo has previously called for a halt to the COVID mRNA vaccines, which federal health officials have repeatedly said are safe and effective. Validating vaccine hesitancy has been a staple of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration, and that hesitancy has trickled down to routine immunizations for schools, experts said. Required immunization reporting for kindergarteners collected by the Florida Department of Health show the extent of that hesitancy over the last five years, as more kindergarteners go to school unvaccinated against measles.

The county-specific data does not include the Florida Virtual School, where 83.8% of the 681 students provided proof of vaccination. The report also warns about some limitations of the data caused by outliers and incomplete data collection from private schools. Florida Department of Health did not immediately provide an update on data from the 2022-2023 school year. Florida students in kindergarten through sixth grade are required to submit a form certifying they have the required vaccines, including two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot. The percentage of kindergarten students who submitted the form fell to 91.7% in the 2021 to 2022 school year, according to a Florida Department of Public Health report. That's lower than the national average, 93%, for the same year, and lower than the average in Florida five years prior, which came in at 94.1%.

It was the lowest rate since the 2010-2011 school year, the report stated, citing the pandemic as playing a "significant role" in the drop. The coverage goal is 95%, which just more than a quarter of counties met or exceeded in 2021-2022. Children who do not submit the form must have an exemption on file: either a temporary medical exemption, a permanent medical exemption or a religious exemption. More than 3% of students claimed a religious exemption in the 2021-2022 school year, the highest ever, the report stated.

Measles cases have been popping up around the country amid dropping rates of vaccination. The national vaccination average for kindergarteners has dropped approximately two percentage points since before the pandemic.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 35 total cases this year in 15 states as of Feb. 22:
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Washington
In 2023, there were 58 total cases, according to the CDC.
 

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Florida is swamped by disease outbreaks as quackery replaces science​

hortly before Joseph Ladapo was sworn in as Florida’s surgeon general in 2022, the New Yorker ran a short column welcoming the vaccine-skeptic doctor to his new role, and highlighting his advocacy for the use of leeches in public health. It was satire of course, a teasing of the Harvard-educated physician for his unorthodox medical views, which include a steadfast belief that life-saving Covid shots are the work of the devil, and that opening a window is the preferred treatment for the inhalation of toxic fumes from gas stoves. But now, with an entirely preventable outbreak of measles spreading across Florida, medical experts are questioning if quackery really has become official health policy in the nation’s third most-populous state. As the highly contagious disease raged in a Broward county elementary school, Ladapo, a politically appointed acolyte of Florida’s far-right governor Ron DeSantis, wrote to parents telling them it was perfectly fine for parents to continue to send in their unvaccinated children.

“The surgeon general is Ron DeSantis’s lapdog, and says whatever DeSantis wants him to say,” said Dr Robert Speth, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at south Florida’s Nova Southeastern University with more than four decades of research experience. “His statements are more political than medical and that’s a horrible disservice to the citizens of Florida. He’s somebody whose job is to protect public health, and he’s doing the exact opposite.”

Ladapo’s advice deferring to parents or guardians a decision about school attendance directly contradicts the official recommendation of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which calls for a 21-day period of quarantine for anybody without a history of prior infection or immunization. It is also in keeping with Ladapo’s previous maverick proclamations about vaccines that health professionals say pose an unacceptable danger to the health of Florida residents. They include official guidance to shun mRNA Covid-19 boosters based on easily disprovable conspiracy theories that the shots alter human DNA and can potentially cause cancer – “scientific nonsense” in the view of Dr Ashish Jha, a former White House Covid response coordinator.

Meanwhile, with measles having been eradicated in the US since 2000, the disease’s resurgence, paired with Ladapo’s latest misadventure, have prompted a new round of mocking commentary. Florida: Come for the Sunshine, Leave With the Measles, opined the Orlando Sentinel; “Measles? So On-brand for Florida’s Descent Into the 1950s”, was the take of the Tampa Bay Times.

His statements are more political than medical and that’s a horrible disservice to the citizens of Florida
Dr Robert Speth

The backlash prompted the Florida department of health to publish “clarifying information” this week, in which it insisted that the stay-at-home recommendation had in fact been given to parents at Manatee Bay elementary school, and attempted to blame the media for “reporting false information and politicizing this outbreak”. Department officials repeated the claim in a subsequent statement.

“The media has continued to peddle the narrative that Dr Ladapo has defied science in his recent letter. In reality, he has used available data and immunity rates to drive policy decisions impacting Manatee Bay Elementary,” the deputy press secretary Grant Kemp said. “97% of students at Manatee Bay Elementary have received at least one dose of the MMR immunization. Outbreaks are occurring in multiple states, and the national immunization rate for measles is less than 92%.” Reporting false information, incidentally, is something Ladapo is familiar with himself. He was found to have personally manipulated data in a 2022 study of Covid-19 vaccines to wrongly assert they posed an elevated risk of cardiac illness or death in young men. To Speth, and numerous other medical experts, Ladapo’s risky succession of positions denying even the most obvious benefits of immunization and vaccination is a symptom of a wider political assault by the rightwing, which carries deadly potential.

Its origins, Speth believes, lie in a long-discredited study by the disgraced British former doctor Andrew Wakefield falsely tying the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism, but which was enthusiastically embraced by anti-vaxxers and other extremists in the US. “The Wakefield study was a gross fraud, yet today up to 25% of our population believes it, and opportunistic politicians seize on the sentiment to tell people what they want to hear about the danger of vaccines,” he said. “Republicans are at war with medical science, and that’s a horrible tragedy. But I feel like Cassandra, talking about the public health threat. We’re going to start seeing a lot more children die of infectious diseases that could be prevented if they were vaccinated.”

Ladapo has been hailed a “superstar” by DeSantis, who sidelined then dumped his predecessor Scott Rivkees for contradicting the governor’s position on social distancing and face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ladapo became a vocal cheerleader of the governor’s anti-mask, vaccine and lockdown decrees; and was a prominent member of Frontline Doctors of America, a fringe cluster of radical physicians that pushed ineffective medicines such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the virus. To pretend that the vaccine is unnecessary to eradicate measles is completely illogical, because that’s the reason it’s been gone from our country.

The group’s founder, Simone Gold, received a 60-day prison sentence in 2022 for taking part in the 6 January Capitol riot. Additionally, Ladapo was a signatory to the Great Barrington Declaration, an open letter claimed to have been signed by 15,000 scientists and medical professionals calling for a herd immunity approach to Covid, but which included a multitude of spoof names including Dr Johnny Bananas, Dr Person Fakename and Dr I P Freely. Democrats in Florida say Ladapo’s handling of the measles outbreak is one more reason why they believe he is unsuited for a job in which he earns in excess of $600,000 a year, paid almost equally by the state and University of Florida, where he was given tenured professorship as an incentive to come. “What’s so sad about it is it’s completely preventable,” said state senator Tina Polksy, who has been one of Ladapo’s staunchest critics. “In a moment of crisis we need the best level-headed people to be running that department of health, and now we’re in our next crisis after Covid and we have someone who doesn’t want to follow accepted scientific guidelines in charge. “To pretend that the vaccine is unnecessary to eradicate measles is completely illogical, because that’s the reason it’s been gone from our country. It will have some devastating outcomes, it’s going to scare a lot of people, and kids are going to be out of school, which has its own negative outcomes.”
 

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Florida’s measles outbreak is a devastating — and preventable — tragedy​

In Broward County, Fla., six students at a single elementary school recently became infected with measles. Two more cases of the highly infectious virus have been reported in the county.
Yet instead of following the well-established public health playbook to curb the outbreak, Florida Surgeon General Joseph A. Ladapo has done the unthinkable: telling parents they could defy health guidance and continue sending unvaccinated kids exposed to measles to school.

To understand just how outrageous this is, consider some facts. First, measles is a terrible disease. This is universally understood in the medical community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 1 in 20 children with measles progress to pneumonia. One in 10 children develop ear infections, which can result in permanent hearing loss. About 1 in 1,000 will have the infection spread to their brain, which can lead to swelling, seizures and irreversible neurological damage.

For every 1,000 kids who contract measles, up to three will die from it. There is also a rare but terrifying neurological disease that could occur years after someone recovers from measles in which individuals go through months of personality changes and depression, followed by blindness, dementia and uncontrollable jerking and writhing. This condition progressively damages the brain, eventually affecting the parts that control breathing and blood pressure and causing coma and death.


Second, measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world — much more transmissible than covid-19. The measles virus is airborne and can live for up to two hours after an infected person leaves the area. If exposed, an unvaccinated person has a nearly 90 percent chance of contracting it.

The reason Americans have not feared this virus for decades is, of course, vaccination. Two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine are 97 percent effective at preventing measles. One dose is about 93 percent effective, and if given during an outbreak to an exposed person who is not yet vaccinated, it can substantially reduce the chance of that individual contracting the virus and then passing it on to others.

The MMR vaccine is so effective and uptake of it so high that measles was considered eliminated in the United States in 2000. Because of how contagious the virus is, the CDC estimates that 95 percent of the population must have immunity to keep measles from spreading. That so many of today’s practicing physicians, including myself, have never diagnosed measles is one of the greatest public health victories.

But this doesn’t mean the threat is gone. Every year, there are infections as a result of travelers carrying the virus. Some have led to notable outbreaks. In 2019, there were more than 900 infections in New York, predominantly occurring within Orthodox Jewish communities. In 2022, an outbreak in Ohio resulted in 85 confirmed cases of locally acquired measles. Most of those infected were unvaccinated toddlers, and nearly half were hospitalized.
 

Oerdin

Active Member
There are 41 cases nationally but only ten in Florida. All states have vaccination rates above 90% with an average of 94% where as Florida is around 92%. Why single out Florida other than you have a political hard on for Florida?

BTW if you want to talk about unvaccinated people then we have 8.2 million people not screened or vaccinated whom the Biden administration has brought in across the border without any health checks at all. Even if they have COVID the admin just releases them into the country. That is a far bigger problem public health wise but it doesn't target who the left wants to target so it gets ignored by left wing sources.
 

jack

The Legendary Troll Kingdom
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