Editorials

Anti-vax measles outbreak forces quarantine in Nevada County

An adult resident of San Luis Obispo County, California, has been diagnosed with the measles, the county Public Health Department announced Saturday, May 5, 2018.
An adult resident of San Luis Obispo County, California, has been diagnosed with the measles, the county Public Health Department announced Saturday, May 5, 2018. The Associated Press

Classes at the Yuba River Charter School in Nevada City are back in session, minus nearly a third of the 300 children enrolled there in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The reason? An unvaccinated child who contracted the measles. Yes, California, it happened again.

Faced with the contagious nature of the childhood disease (see “Disneyland measles epidemic”) and the fact that Yuba River is a Waldorf school with a vaccination rate far, far below the mid-90-percent range needed to block an outbreak, the Nevada County Public Health Department had little choice but to shut down the school for a day and tell everyone without proof of immunization to go home until the threat of infection passes.

Had California’s new vaccine law been in effect, things might have been different. Parents hoping to send children to day care or school would have to vaccinate them or home-school unless they had a medical exemption. But Senate Bill 277, which was bitterly fought by vaccine resisters, won’t be implemented until fall, with the start of the 2016 school year. And in the meantime, efforts to undermine it continue.

Had California’s new vaccine law been in effect, things might have been different, but SB 277 won’t be implemented until fall.

Measles is a common childhood disease; it can also kill children. Once nearly eradicated in this country, it has made a comeback, largely due to the misguided fears of vaccine resisters.

It’s a terrible trend; indeed, a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that the unvaccinated children of vaccine resisters are the most likely to be infected in measles outbreaks. That’s why, according to Nevada County health officials, 98 kids were absent due to a lack of vaccination on Thursday.

They’re to be quarantined until April 8. So far, there have been no new cases. Here’s hoping it stays that way. Here’s hoping the Nevada City parents do the right thing and get that vaccination rate back up where it should be. And here’s hoping the unvaccinated kids stay home in the meantime. Health officials in Amador County say that before his diagnosis, the infected child also went to a restaurant in Jackson last week.

  Comments