Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Measles Immunization a Must in 3 Schools

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Measles Immunization a Must in 3 Schools

Article excerpt

With a measles epidemic erupting in St. Louis County, the health department ordered three schools Monday to bar students who lack full measles immunization.

To be safe, a child should be immunized twice - once at 12 to 15 months and once just before enrolling in school.

The ban will begin Wednesday. The schools are:

Horton Watkins High School in the Ladue district, with about 1,000 students.

Selvidge Middle School in the Rockwood district, about 1,000 students.

Fern Ridge High School in the Parkway district, about 100 students.

Dr. Linda Fisher, chief medical officer in St. Louis County, said each of the schools had had at least one case of measles. As of Monday, 116 cases had been confirmed in the county in the recent outbreak.

Fisher issued the order after consulting school officials Monday. She said each of the schools would send a letter to parents today elaborating on the order and immunization requirements.

The order is similar to steps taken last week at the Principia Academy in west St. Louis County. The school is attended mostly by Christian Scientists, many of whom do not take medicine because of their religious beliefs. That school has had more than 30 cases.

Fisher said Monday, "This is very serious. I'm very concerned about the situation, and I think it's very important for parents to take this opportunity to be sure their children are properly immunized."

Proof of measles immunization is required upon enrollment in public schools in Missouri, but the law was changed three years ago.

Before 1991, the state required just one immunization, usually administered at age 12 or 15 months. The law was changed to comply with a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which calls for two immunizations for full protection.

"What this means is that only kids up to third grade have had all they need," Fisher said. …

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