Measles case forces California charter school to close temporarily


A California elementary charter school was forced to close for a day after an unvaccinated student contracted measles, putting all unimmunized students, faculty and staff at risk.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Yuba River Charter School in Nevada City closed its campus on Tuesday due to a lone case of measles among its students.

A county health department news release said the student would’ve been infectious during classes held on March 17. The student has not been back at the school since then, as the building has been closed for spring break.

The school will reopen today, but students and staff who do not have up to date immunity documents will not be allowed back on campus until April 8.

A lone case of measles wouldn’t be too much of a concern under a normal situation, as most people receive the measles vaccine as a child. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the vaccine is between 93 and 97% effective, depending on how many doses a person receives. If enough people in a community are immunized, it creates something called community immunity or “herd immunity” which helps prevent the disease from spreading.

But California is on the lower end of immunization rates in America, with a 92.6% vaccination rate for kindergartners from 2009 to 2015, according to the CDC. Even worse, California state Sen. Richard Pan told the Bee that only 43% of kindergarten students from the Yuba River’s most recent class were up to date on their vaccinations.

Starting this summer, a law Pan helped pass will mandate all children in California schools must be vaccinated with exemptions only for specific medical conditions that contraindicate the vaccines. The law was passed following an outbreak of measles among visitors to the Disneyland theme park.

Hopefully, no one will need to use the word outbreak in conjunction with Yuba River Charter School.

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