The largest active measles outbreak in the United States is officially over. The Arizona Department of Health Services, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Pinal County Public Health Services District announced the end of the three month outbreak yesterday.
The (measles) outbreak has come to an end as the potential exposure date has been reached.
There were 22 confirmed cases of measles; all were traced back to a private detention facility in Eloy.
Thirteen detainees, as well as nine staff members, were infected. Of those cases, only one was reported in Maricopa County while the rest were reported in Pinal County.
Thomas Schryer, director of the Pinal County Public Health Services District, said in a news release, “This was a challenging outbreak involving several key partners. We were able to bring this outbreak to its conclusion because staff stepped up and received vaccination.”
Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services – added, “The intensive work our disease detectives performed during this outbreak helped us to track areas of public exposure, quickly publish that information, and stop further spread into the community.”
According to KTAR-Radio in Phoenix, “Measles is highly contagious and preventable through vaccines. It was eradicated in the US in 2000. But the past couple of years have seen new cases in large part because of unfounded fears that the vaccination causes autism in children, (Pinal County Public Health Director) Schryer said.
Let us know how you think state health officials handled the measles outbreak, and how we might be able avoid more outbreaks moving forward. Discussing ‘hot-button’ topics such as vaccinations can be difficult, but finding new ways to talk about old health issues will help us one day reach our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!