Florida College Isolates Students Amid Measles Scare
Florida College in Temple Terrace is isolating students who do not have proof of vaccination against the measles after a student was diagnosed with the virus on campus.
The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County is conducting an epidemiological investigation to determin if any other students or staff were infected.
The isolation was recommended by the DOH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after an adult male student who traveled to South America was diagnosed.
A statement posted on the website of the small, Christian college in northeastern Hillsborough County, says the student is no longer contagious, but was on campus during the time of infection.
DOH-Hillsborough sent students and staff members a letter on Jan. 22 outlining the concerns.
"Due to an ongoing epidemiologic investigation, we are unable to confirm any additional details," said Kevin Watler with DOH-Hillsborough in a statement.
"What I can confirm is that there has been one case of measles identified in Hillsborough County so far this year."
Isolated students are having four meals a day delivered to their dorm room - and daily check-ups with a nurse. The college is also making accommodations for missed classes.
Isolation is expected to continue until Feb. 5 - the current window to determine if unvaccinated students are infected.
Adam Olson, Chief Advancement Officer for Florida College, says in the interest of public health, they’re also limiting who comes to the campus.
Measles is a severe, highly contagious viral disease, and the CDC recommends vaccination as the best way to prevent it.
The disease remains a leading cause of vaccine-preventable infant mortality, despite no deaths being reported in the United States since 2015.
Before the vaccine was made available in 1963, measles caused almost 500 deaths each year in the United States.
How to get vaccinated:
Vaccines are provided at no cost to babies, children and teens through the age of 18. Adults can receive the combination measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) vaccine at DOH-Hillsborough for $91. The fee health departments charge varies by county. In Hillsborough County, the DOH-Hillsborough immunization clinic is located at 8605 N. Mitchell Ave in Tampa, and accepts walk-in’s weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tampa Bay area county health departments:
- Citrus - (352) 527-0068
- Hardee - (863) 773-4161
- Hernando - (353) 540-6800
- Highlands - (863) 386-6040
- Hillsborough - (813) 307-8000
- Manatee - (941) 748-0747
- Pasco - (727) 619-0300
- Pinellas - (727) 824-6900
- Polk - (863) 519-7900
- Sarasota - (941) 861-2900