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Utah Department of Health Declares End to Measles Outbreak

File: CDC
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's national measles outbreak map.

Utah Department of Health officials declared an end to the measles outbreak in the state Wednesday.

Health workers in Utah County recorded three infected residents in January after family members reported traveling to Disneyland in mid-December. Rebecca Ward is a health educator with the Department of Health and the Bureau of Epidemiology.

“It has been at least two incubation periods past the last one, the last confirmed case, says Ward, “So we feel pretty confident that this particular round is over and hoping that we will not see any more.”

Ward says all three infected residents were unvaccinated. She says it’s critical, especially for young children, to get vaccinated.

“This particular vaccine has been around for many, many years and it’s been shown to be very effective. One dose of the measles vaccine will provide about 95% immunity, just with one dose,” Ward says, “and if you get two doses you’re probably looking at about 99%.”

Ward says department officials asked nearly 400 people whether they had gotten their MMR vaccines following their exposure to the three Utah County residents. A statement from the Utah Department of Health says public health agencies in Utah spent $115,000 dollars including the cost of 3000 working hours and lab testing related to the outbreak.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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