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Doctor urges parents to check child vaccinations after measles cases in Broward County

'This is a great time for parents to reach out to their doctor and find out if their child has been properly vaccinated against measles,' Dr. Shannon Fox-Levine says
Posted at 6:18 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 18:26:13-05

Two new cases of measles were reported this weekend in Broward County, bringing the total number of cases to eight.

The Florida Department of Health said the seventh measles case was confirmed in a child under 5 years old on Saturday and happened outside Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston, where six previous cases had been confirmed.

On Sunday, the number of confirmed cases rose to eight.

The Broward County Public Schools superintendent is assuring the public that the school is not dangerous.

"I didn't know anything about it and I called her up and said hey, did you know anything about this measles outbreak happening in Broward County?" Marshall Sklar told WPTV.

Sklar, a Palm Beach County parent, said he made that call to his wife as soon as he heard the news.

Marshall Sklar parent measles in Broward County 02262024
Marshall Sklar was initially concerned about the measles outbreak in Broward County before he learned from his wife that their children already vaccinated against it.

"Of course, she's in the schools, she volunteers every day, and she goes yeah I heard about it, but don't worry our kids our immunized," Sklar said. "For children that are not immunized, I'd be a little bit concerned."

"These viruses travel quickly," pediatrician Dr. Shannon Fox-Levine said.

Fox-Levine said the measles are highly contagious.

The first symptoms are typically a rash on the face or neck, sometimes leading to a high fever.

"This is a great time for any parents who are unsure if their child has been properly vaccinated against measles to reach out to their doctor and find out," Fox-Levine said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the first MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine at 12 to 15 months old, and the second between 4 and 6 years old.

pediatrician Dr Shannon Fox-Levine measles vaccination 02262024
Pediatrician Dr. Shannon Fox-Levine said now is the time for parents to check with their child's doctor to see if they've been vaccinated against the highly contagious disease.

The latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health show that for the 2021 and 2022 school year, about 92% of Broward County public school kindergartners had complete immunization records, 4% had temporary medical exemptions, 1% percent had permanent medical exemptions, and 3.2% had religious exemptions.

"So that's always a consideration here is these kids are being exposed to measles potentially not vaccinated due to an underlying condition," Fox-Levine said.

A letter from the Florida Department of Health reads in part: "DOH is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance. This recommendation may change as epidemiological investigations continue."

However, the CDC advises unvaccinated children should stay home from school for three weeks after exposure.

"The measles vaccine is a proven vaccine that works and for my own family, I'm really not that concerned," Sklar said.