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Immunization, the measles outbreak, and attendance policy

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I have been trying to keep up with the news about the measles outbreak that's happening right now and the thought occurred to me that I had not read any kind of specific guidance on what measures we should take to try to keep troop meetings from contributing to the spread of the disease.

The reason I wonder about this is that if even a single contagious boy showed up at a troop event for even just a little while, it could spread to dozens of families or more, this thing is so contagious. So have any of you thought about any kind of pro-active message to families, or a way to respond if this kind of thing does happen in your unit?

 

[Fair Warning: anyone who wants to mix religion or politics into this thread will be redirected to the I&P forum so confine your responses to real, practical ideas on how to deal with this issue]

 

So here is the situation so far: There have been a growing number of families who are have children who are not fully immunized. An outbreak began in California and the epidemiological characteristics of this disease are such that it can spread quickly and easily. It has spread to many other states now (not here yet though) and is likely to arrive almost anywhere or everywhere eventually. It is a serious health issue and for some it can be deadly.

I see extremes for our response to range from cancellation of events and meetings if the disease is detected in the community...to a 'wait and see' response in the hope that it doesn't arrive and we can go on with life as if there's no problem. Is there a 'best practices' approach that will actually work? I wonder.

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Maybe it's time to read those medical forms and personally talk to anyone with incomplete vaccine info.... Have a public health officer visit and work on the public health MB. .... Exponential growth curve analysis would be a great STEM project! ... Finally, I could see scouts in uniform being very effective in delivering informational flyers.

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From the BSA Physical form:

 

The following immunizations are recommended by the BSA. Tetanus immunization is required and must have been received within the last 10 years. If you had the disease, check the disease column and list the date. If immunized, check yes and provide the year received.

 

While this form does allow us to see who checked the box, we of course have no idea if the information on the form is true. Schools have the ability to ask for proof of vaccination, I would not want to be in the position of evaluating the proof for all scouts, parents, and guardians. Remember the vector could be the parent of a Tiger.

 

 

You must look to the local or state health autorities for guidance. In general as long as the schools are still open and other public facilities are open plan as normal.

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Qwazse, that's probably a good 'painless' first action, lol. I suspect some of us may collect those forms and then just bury them in a file somewhere.

 

Horanmm, I wonder how many boys and families are exempted from that. We have had a couple of inquiries from people concerned about confidentiality and used the exemption form in order not to provide information (at least I think that's what they did). But the exemption form pretty much allows anyone to exempt as long as they release BSA from liability, which of course does absolutely nothing to protect the rest of us.

 

But this doesn't address my original question. Hypothetically, if a highly communicable disease is detected in the community, what kinds of measures should troops take in response? What if the first detection results from a troop meeting?

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A scout is CLEAN, in part meaning he does not spread disease. Communicate this year round and before food handling.

 

Quarantine the infected. If a person is sick - coughing, running nose, nauseous, achy, running a temp - the early stages of just about everything.

 

SICK? STAY HOME. Don't go to work, school, scouts, travel, or Disneyland.

 

Common sense but not money sense, as there may be no one or way for a parent to stay home with a sick child. Got hotel and plane reservations to Disneyworld and sick kids, they're going. :(

 

My $0.01

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I should have figured the immunization exemption was only about covering BSA's butt. But we know chartered organizations are allowed to enforce more stringent membership requirements. That could include requiring immunizations without exception. If the issue became a more serious concern, I don't see out CO giving a lot of quarter to conscientious exemptions.

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I should have figured the exemptions on immunizations was only about covering BSA's butt....

 

Was it 3 or 4 years ago swine flu was a problem at several camps? One of our neighboring camps attracts a lot of out-of-state campers. They were hit hard by the flu and If memory serves, closed for a week. When the headlines regarding the measles outbreaks change from "Disneyland" to "Local Scout Camp" I wonder how long it will take national to rethink this?

 

While national may only be concerned with their liability, we know our COs can enforce stricter policies. I wonder about this. If it were to become a more serious issue, I doubt my CO would give much weight to conscientious exemptions from basic immunizations.

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Good thing about big government: Here's a quick story that may serve as a SM minute: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/measles/unprotected-story.htm It's important that folks understand that an immune-compromised scout needs everyone in his/her air space to be immunized. Like any other bogey, The goal isn't to scare boys and their families. It's to enable them to serve their country.

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CNN had an interview with someone who has a similar story: her children are threatened by this risk of infection. CNN also interviewed an Arizona doctor, Jack Wolfson, who refuses to vaccinate his children and who basically...well you read it for yourself:

"I'm not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure," he added. "It's not my responsibility to be protecting their child." CNN asked Wolfson if he could live with himself if his unvaccinated child got another child gravely ill.

"I could live with myself easily," he said. "It's an unfortunate thing that people die, but people die. I'm not going to put my child at risk (by vaccinating them) to save another child."

He blamed the Jacks family for taking their daughter to a clinic for care.

"If a child is so vulnerable like that, they shouldn't be going out into society," he said.

 

Here's the whole story: http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/30/health/arizona-measles-vaccination-debate/

 

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Sounds like some good suggestions above.

 

Ohio had a 35-year high for mumps in 2014.

 

Measles hit a peak near 400 in July, mainly among the Amish and leading the nation. (One result was that the Amish decided to have vaccinations - a change in policy.)

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My biggest fear is the immunization I had many years ago is now ineffective. For example, I had the vaccination for whooping cough as a child yet contracted it as an adult. (No fun and at times very scary.)

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OINA, I understand and you're right, some of them do become less effective (tetanus for example) but boosters are usually available. I'm not concerned about myself (at my age, I'm mostly irrelevant anyway) but rather for my grandchildren. They live in a neighborhood that has a bunch of these 'denier' crazies. Which means they're risk of exposure is greater, that and the fact that they visit theme parks fairly often. Their shots are up to date though and that gives me more confidence.

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We are all responsible for taking care of our children. All mine received their shots as recommended. If there is an outbreak they are less likely to get sick. End of story.

 

Oh, your kid? Well that's up to you to take care of your children.

 

I had chicken pox, measles, mumps as a kid. It wasn't any fun. None of my kids have had these diseases, why? Vaccines weren't available when I was a kid, but my kids got the shots.

 

I remember the polio vaccine when it came as a shot, not something you drank and it was a series of multiple shots over time. It was a scary thing back in the 1950's.

 

I guess people that don't read history don't know about the flu epidemic of 1918. If they did, they'd get their flu shots.

 

Stosh

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