Airborne virus threatens students

By Spencer Skolnick, News Writer

With the many recent measles outbreaks in the U.S., UA Student Health Services advises students to take precautions.

 

Typically uncommon in the U.S., measles is a disease still found in countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and other areas. When travelers from foreign countries visit the U.S., they may carry the disease with them, spreading the virus and infecting others.

 

From Jan. 1 to Feb. 6, 121 Americans in 17 states were reported as having measles, according to the Center for Disease Control.

 

UA Health Services highly advises students, faculty, and staff who have not been vaccinated to receive the appropriate immunization. Those vaccinated have a 97 percent chance of not catching the virus, even with exposure to it, according to Health Services.

 

This virus is airborne and spreads easily through exposure. Health Services reports that it infects nine out of every 10 non-immunized people who come into contact with it.

 

Because most people are vaccinated in their youth, Health Services addresses those not previously immunized and urges them to get the vaccine.

 

“It’s always good to get all the vaccinations you need, just to make sure you’re healthy,” said Alma Olsen, director of UA Student Health Services.

 

Health Services recommends that everyone check with their medical records to ensure that they have received two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. Health Services will not run checks on students to verify this since students were required to have the vaccinations to attend UA in the first place.

 

However, if the Summit County Public Health department (SCPH) knows that someone was recently exposed to the infection, investigation on that person is required.

 

SCPH has stated that those without the immunization must receive the vaccine and provide medical evidence of it four days after the exposure to the disease. Those that refuse the vaccination may have to be quarantined for 21 days, as requested by the CDC.

 

UA Health Services provides immunizations at their on-campus clinic. They also connect students who have health insurance with other community health and safety institutions that have the vaccination. In this case, students have the ability to save money with the assistance of their insurance.

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