Highly unvaccinated California school shut down after student is diagnosed with measles

Health officials in California are scrambling to prevent another measles outbreak after a child in a highly unvaccinated school tested positive for the once eradicated disease.

The unnamed student attends the Yuba River Charter School in Nevada County and health officials were first notified when the student began showing symptoms earlier this month.

Dr. Karen Smith, the director and State Public Health Officer at the California Department of Public Health, said the child showed measles symptoms after traveling overseas. The child has since recovered, but health officials are concerned that other unvaccinated children may now be at risk.

“As the state’s public health officer, it’s concerning to receive a report of a child with measles because it’s a disease that can easily be prevented,” Smith said. “Immunization is the best way to protect against measles. Two doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine are approximately 97 percent effective at preventing disease in exposed persons.”

According to ABC News, The Yuba Charter School has a low vaccination rate and has received the classification as “most vulnerable” to outbreaks, according to data from the California Department of Public Health.

The overall vaccination rate for the school’s kindergartners is just 42.6 percent, but according to the school’s website, only staff and students who are up to date on their vaccines are currently allowed to come to school.

Overall, about 44 percent of kindergartners at the school are up-to-date on their MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) shots. In order for “herd immunity” to be effective, at least 95 percent of any given community should be vaccinated.

Featured image: Luciana Christante (Flickr)

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