The good news in this story is that thanks to a relatively high immunization rate, herd immunity has (so far) protected against a wider-spread outbreak after an infected passenger rode a commuter train during rush hour.
The anti-vaccination movement brings the measles threat back home (Los Angeles Times):
The latest threat comes from an unnamed and unvaccinated UC Berkeley student who apparently contracted the disease while traveling in the Philippines during an outbreak there. Public health officials in Contra Costa County say people who rode BART during the morning or evening rush hours from Feb. 4 through Feb. 7 may have been exposed by the carrier, who is unidentified.
That could be hundreds of thousands of people. Health officials say those who have been immunized or have had the disease are probably still protected. But measles is highly communicable, and many unprotected individuals who came in contact with the source could become infected.
According to health officials, the student was not immunized. Had (s)he been, this exposure would very probably have been avoided. While people who have been immunized have a much, much lower chance of infection from exposure, there are infrequent cases where previously vaccinated patients can contract the illness, which is why it’s especially important to ensure a high immunization rate, because this even further reduces the chance for exposure.
As has been previously covered at Doubtful News, the Philippines outbreak has been the cause of many preventable deaths. And it’s found its way in the States once again. Here in the United States we often feel insulated against this tragedy, but the CDC has reminded us that outbreaks everywhere continue to threaten health security here and abroad.
Over at Bad Astronomy, Dr. Phil Plait discusses this latest example and the importance of maintaining immunity to protect our communities: Thousands of San Francisco Bay Area People Potentially Exposed to Measles.
- Health officials warn of possible measles exposure
- Student Infected with Measles Highlights the Importance of Vaccination
- Case of measles confirmed in Contra Costa County