San Francisco Department of Public Health Contained Measles Outbreak, Possibly Saving Lives

Without a measles vaccine, your children's lives may be in danger.

Just weeks ago, a San Francisco man who had traveled abroad brought back a deadly souvenir. He had spent some time in Europe with a friend who had been diagnosed with measles, and several days after he returned to the city, he began showing symptoms. If you don't remember much about the measles, since it was all but eradicated long ago in the United States, here's a little reminder: It's a highly contagious airborn virus that can kill children.

In some developing countries, it kills hundreds of thousands of children every year. In some developed countries where people have increasingly rebelled against recommended vaccinations — namely Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Romania — the airborn virus has seen a devastating resurgence. Seven children from those countries died from the measles in 2006 and 2007, and in 2008 that number was likely higher, according to Andrew Resignato, the director of the San Francisco Immunization Coalition.   

Days after he returned from Europe, the San Francisco man had a fever, a cough, and red eyes — all measles symptoms. He alerted his doctor, who immediately called the San Francisco Department of Public Health. They tested the man, and after 16 hours of waiting, his results came back positive.

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