UPDATE: 7th Case of Measles Reported at Florida Elementary School

The measles outbreak at Manatee Bay Elementary led to the absence of 20% of the school’s students and six staff members on Tuesday.

UPDATE: 7th Case of Measles Reported at Florida Elementary School

Measles is highly contagious, but vaccines can prevent infection. Image via Adobe, by Romolo Tavani

UPDATE: FEBRUARY 28, 2024: A seventh case of measles has been linked to an outbreak at Manatee Bay Elementary School, bringing the total number of measles cases in Broward County to nine and in all of Florida to ten, reports the Miami Herald.

Of the seven cases linked to Manatee Bay Elementary, four involve students ages 5 to 9, and three involve students ages 10 to 14. Two of the other cases are children under the age of five. The tenth case is an adult, age 20-24 in Polk County who had travelled overseas.

The announcement of another case of measles in the state prompted U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to call for the firing of Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo over his controversial handling of the outbreak, reports NBC Miami.

UPDATE: FEBRUARY 26, 2024: Two more children in Broward County have contracted measles, bringing the total to eight. New health data from the state show a child younger than 5 and another between the ages of 5 and 9 have come down with the virus, reports USA Today and NBC News.


WESTON, Fla. – Six people at Manatee Bay Elementary School have been diagnosed with measles have caught the disease, reports USA Today.

According to the February 16 notice from the Florida Department of Health, a third grader with no travel history was infected with the vaccine-preventable virus. Three other cases were reported over the weekend.

The outbreak prompted 20% of Manatee Bay Elementary School students and six staff members to be absent from school on Tuesday, reports Local10.

Health experts worry that the measles outbreak will spread even further.

“The way this viral illness spreads, we foresee that the number of unvaccinated children, the immune-compromised, we will start to see an increase in those numbers definitely,” Dr. Pallavi Aneja, the program director of Internal Medicine Residency at HCA FL Northwest and Westside Hospitals told CBS News.

Measles is highly contagious and is spread through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. It can be transmitted four days before the rash becomes visible to four days after the rash appears. The symptoms of measles generally begin approximately 8 to 14 days, after a person is exposed to someone with measles, with a range of 7 to 21 days.

Symptoms include a maculopapular rash, fever, cough, coryza, conjunctivitis, malaise, and/or tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth. For every 1,000 cases of measles, about 200 children may be hospitalized, 50 may get pneumonia, one child may develop brain swelling along with deafness or disability, and between one and three may die, according to the CDC.

University of Florida Infectious Disease Specialist Nicole Iovine said the cause of the outbreak is simple: parents aren’t getting their children vaccinated, reports the Miami New Times. “They’re not protected. This is what happens when people aren’t vaccinated against a highly infectious disease.”

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Peter Licata said 92% of the students at Manatee Bay Elementary have been vaccinated, reports NBC Miami. With the school having approximately 1,100 students, that means about 88 of them have not been vaccinated for measles, mumps, and rubella.

Florida’s MMR vaccination rate in the 2022-2023 year was 91%, which is two percentage points lower than the national rate of 93%, reports NBC News. The World Health Organization says that 95% is the threshold for herd immunity from measles.

In response to the outbreak, the school was deep cleaned over the weekend and air filters were replaced. The local health department has also been offering measles vaccinations at the school. If someone is vaccinated within three days of exposure to measles, they are much less likely to come down with measles or spread it to other people.

Despite the highly infectious nature of measles, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said in a letter to parents that his department is leaving it up to parents of unvaccinated students whether they will quarantine or continue to attend Manatee Bay Elementary. Quarantine is the CDC standard for unvaccinated persons. Ladapo’s letter also did not urge unvaccinated students to get vaccinated.

Although measles was deemed eradicated in the U.S. in 2000, it has made a comeback recently due to vaccine hesitancy and skepticism. Earlier this month, the CDC advised healthcare providers to be “on alert” for patients exhibiting symptoms of measles after nearly two dozen cases were reported in the U.S. in the previous month.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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