Saturday, December 3

Pinal County Inmate Responsible for Measles Outbreak

Weeks after an inmate at a federal detention center for immigrants was diagnosed with measles, officials in Arizona have confirmed an additional 14 cases of the disease.

According to CBS News, the outbreak began in the Federal Detention Center in Elroy. Of those that are infected, seven are reported to be inmates at the center and four are employees of the facility. Since the confirmation, the privately-run center has not accepted any new detainees, nor has it released any.

Both state and county health officials are working to stop new transmissions. They are doing so by isolating patients and attempting to identify people who were at locations visited by the four infected workers.

Cases like this are part of the reason that the United States will need almost 52,000 more primary care physicians in less than a decade.

The outbreak first began when an infected inmate was brought to the center. An employee of the facility then contracted the disease, despite having been vaccinated. The infected workers had been to 14 different locations in both Pinal and Maricopa counties. Arizona officials are urging people who may have visited any of the identified locations to learn the symptoms of measles, and to come forward if they experience any of those symptoms.

Measles is a highly communicable disease whose hallmarks include fever, cough, a runny nose, and red, watery eyes. It is commonly followed by a rash that is red, raised, and blotchy. The rash first begins at the hairline, then moves down the body, and lasts an average of five to six days. It had been largely eradicated in the United States due to the prevalence of effective vaccines, but large outbreaks in several states, including one among visitors to California’s Disneyland in 2015, have been recorded in recent years.

The United States experienced a record number of measles cases in 2014, with 667 diagnoses in 27 states. IHi 2015, 189 people from 24 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles.

Those who think they may have been exposed are strongly advised to contact their healthcare provider. Those without a healthcare provider are urged to visit their local emergency room or urgent care facilities.

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