Philadelphia: health workers warn of an increase in measles cases in unvaccinated people

In total, four cases have been reported in the city. In addition, they are investigating two other potentially infected people.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has warned of an increase in measles cases in unvaccinated people. In total, officials reported, four cases were reported in the city, two of them hospitalized. In addition, they are investigating two other potentially infected people.

The outbreak began on Tuesday, December 19, between 2 and 5:30 p.m. That day, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Jefferson Health notified people at 33 South 9th Street (formerly known as 833 Chestnut Street) that they may have been exposed to the virus.

However, doctors reassured citizens by ensuring that vaccinated people are usually immunized against the virus. However, health workers recommended people who may have been in contact with measles to quarantine and stay at home for at least 21 days. This was stated by the Department of Health in a statement:

The Health Department is strongly recommending that anyone who may have been exposed to measles should quarantine themselves by staying home and away from others. Additionally, people who have not received both doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine should talk with their healthcare provider about getting caught up.

Philadelphia locations affected by the outbreak

Health workers reported that the places where outbreaks had been recorded were at 33 South 9th Street on December 19; the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on December 29; Christopher's Hospital for Children's Emergency Department during the night of December 30 through the afternoon of December 31; inpatient unit 5 north at Christopher's Hospital for Children between December 31 and January 3; and the emergency room of Nazareth Hospital between December 31 and January 2.

In addition, officials recalled that measles is an "extremely dangerous" virus that has, among its first symptoms, high fever, cough, rhinorrhea, red and watery eyes or conjunctivitis. A few days after these signs appear, others follow, including small white spots in the mouth, a measles rash, and an even higher fever.

Babies most likely to be infected by measles

The people most prone to suffer from measles are those under 12 years of age, reassured Health Commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, they usually do not present significant risks due to a high vaccination rate. However, she recalled, they should still remain vigilant since the virus especially affects babies who are not yet vaccinated:

Children under 12 months and adults and children who are immunocompromised remain vulnerable to measles but are generally protected because of the wall of immunity created by high community vaccination levels. Unfortunately, we are seeing cases of measles that have spread to vulnerable individuals including young children due to people declining vaccination and also failing to adhere to quarantine recommendations. Philadelphia is a city where we believe in a duty to take care of each other. We are asking all city residents who may have been exposed to measles to do their part to ensure that no additional infants are harmed by this infection.