Measles case on campus
Dr. Philip Barkley, Director, UF Student Health Care Center
The Alachua County Health Department on Tuesday confirmed three cases of measles, one of which involves a University of Florida student.
The student received a waiver from showing proof of immunization against measles for religious reasons. Some UF students have received waivers for medical reasons as well.
As a precaution, the university has taken the following actions to limit the possibility of exposure for anyone who may be at risk of contracting measles:
•The affected student has been advised to refrain from visiting campus until he is no longer at risk of spreading the infection, unless he receives the immunization.
• Those students who received medical or religious waivers are being advised to refrain from visiting campus until they are no longer at risk of spreading the infection, unless they receive the immunization.
• Additionally, because the student had contact with the Hare Krishnas who serve lunch at the Plaza of the Americas on the UF campus, the health department has asked that group to suspend serving meals for 30 days until the danger has passed, unless they receive the immunization.
Measles generally is a benign illness in children but in the adult population it can produce serious complications. Because the measles vaccine has been available in the United States for more than 40 years, the likelihood of contracting the infection is considered to be low. If you fall into either one of the following two categories, you are unlikely to be at risk:
*Anyone born before 1957, and
*Anyone who can document having received two doses of the measles vaccine.
While the university tracks students’ vaccination records, it does not have records for faculty or staff. If you have received one dose of the vaccine, you have some degree of protection but two doses are recommended for full protection. Therefore, if you are uncertain as to whether you are fully immunized against measles, you are strongly urged to see your health care provider, the health department or the UF Student Health Care Center and have a blood test and/or be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Beginning today, the university is making blood tests and vaccine available to UF students, faculty and staff free of charge. Anyone who wishes to take advantage of those services may do so at the Infirmary.
In addition, anyone who believes he or she may be at risk of contracting measles should consider avoiding large gatherings, such as this week’s UF commencement ceremonies, until the danger has passed.
If you have any questions regarding measles, the blood test or the vaccine, please contact your health care provider, the Alachua County Health Department at 352-334-7900 or the UF Student Health Care Center at 352-392-1161. Information also is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/nip/diseases/measles/faqs.htm