For the past three months, state and local public health disease detectives have been working tirelessly to bring an end to the measles outbreak originating from a private detention facility in Eloy, Arizona. This week, the outbreak is officially closed. A total of 22 cases have been reported during this three month outbreak, all of them coming from the detention facility.
This is on record as the largest measles outbreak in the United States so far this year. What is so surprising about this particular outbreak is the fact that we had known community exposure, yet we were able to avoid the spread of measles throughout the community.
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by the measles virus. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite, red eyes, and a rash. Before the routine vaccination program was introduced in the United States, measles was a common illness in infants, children and young adults.
I’d like to recognize the great work done by our state and local public health workers to investigate the series of measles infected individuals, identify points of community contact, and vaccinate individuals working at the detention facility to stop the outbreak. To make sure we kept our community updated, we posted daily updates to the website azhealth.gov/measlesoutbreak along with areas of possible public exposure and resources available for clinicians, school nurses, residents and media.