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Contagious Disease Outbreaks

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Unvaccinated Students in Rockland County, New York, Told to Stay Home Following Measles Outbreak

With declining vaccination rates, it seems summer camps will likely face outbreaks in the near future.  Do camps have procedures in place to deal with them, such as sending unvaccinated personnel home, etc.?  With measles, there is a 90% chance of infection for susceptible people who are exposed.

 

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Hopefully by summer this outbreak will have run its course.  The council in your area will need to see what the laws say about the issue for non school organizations. 

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Ditto, Worcester,MA

https://www.telegram.com/news/20181016/worcester-excluding-unvaccinated-students-from-school

In Massachusetts, "students need to receive the DTaP/Tdap (for diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough), MMR (for measles, mumps and rubella), polio, Hepatitis B, and chickenpox vaccines".  But then there are home-schoolers, exclusions for medical and religious reasons...

First, I think we need to get back to providing proof of current vaccination - either a certified vaccination record  and/or antibody test (proof the vaccine  worked). Long ago as an EMT, I was  vaccinated for Hep B by my town  for free.  Guess they got a deal on expired vaccine as a couple years later, I was required to submit an antibody test for grad school. Surprise, no Hep B antibodies.  More recently,  I contracted Whooping Cough (pertussis). Impossible, I had been vaccinated as that decade earlier antibody test confirmed. But that was then,  I needed a booster.  Thankfully I was vaccinated for measles, mumps, and chicken pox the old school way - got them as a Cub Scout. Den meetings were our vaccination parties. :)

Second the camp nurse check-in, IMO this stop has been more about checking the paperwork and collecting meds and less checking the camper's current health for admission.  How are you feeling? I'm okay. Shouldn't everyone have their temp and neck glands checked?

Third a complete refund if a scout/scouter is sick.  Come back and enjoy camp when your are well. 

My $0.02

Edited by RememberSchiff
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The religious exemptions may be involved in the outbreaks in Rockland County and Brooklyn, as they are primarily impacting the orthodox Jewish communities there; non-immunized people recently returned from Israel, where an outbreak is occurring.  Apart from this, anti-vax people are increasingly using the religious exemptions for their children.

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It is the right of the citizen to decide whether to vaccinate their children or not. 

In Scouting, this is going to be the decision of the camp owners (presumably the council) so most of us are not involved in these decisions anyway.  Also, I'm sure there are laws related to how these issues should and should not be handled.

When we want to encourage participation in Scouting, it is not a great idea to take on a controversial issue such as vaxing or not vaxing.  Why open the can of worms?  Parents can and should decide their preferences.  Why make it even harder for people to enjoy camp, when there have been no instances of issues at Scout camps? (that I know of, have there been?)  Why operate on fear? 

Are there nurses at camp?  I am sure there are health officers, but the ABC forms are what we use. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma
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5 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

Why open the can of worms?  Parents can and should decide their preferences.

Because the choices of one greatly impact everyone else. Hep A can pass when dealing with less sanitary condition combined with food, which sounds like every campout cooking situation. Measles can spread very quickly with even casual contact, and is pretty bad.

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22 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

It is the right of the citizen to decide whether to vaccinate their children or not. 

In Scouting, this is going to be the decision of the camp owners (presumably the council) so most of us are not involved in these decisions anyway.  Also, I'm sure there are laws related to how these issues should and should not be handled.

When we want to encourage participation in Scouting, it is not a great idea to take on a controversial issue such as vaxing or not vaxing.  Why open the can of worms?  Parents can and should decide their preferences.  Why make it even harder for people to enjoy camp, when there have been no instances of issues at Scout camps? (that I know of, have there been?)  Why operate on fear? 

Are there nurses at camp?  I am sure there are health officers, but the ABC forms are what we use. 

Some camps employ EMTs or paramedics as the health officer. More common for a EMT at day camps. Nurses such as RNs or LPNs are at resident camps.

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I really don't want to debate vaccinations or start a debate on vaccinations when what we have in place seems to be working.  Have there been any cases of Hep A or measles outbreaks spreading via Scout camps in the last decade?  Do we have a problem or are we making up a problem so we can argue about it? 

Can a person vaccinated for measles get the measles?  The answer should be, no.  The people most at risk for measles are unvaccinated pregnant women and very young unvaccinated children.   

Can a person vaccinated for HepA get it?  It's the same kind of situation isn't it?  

I personally don't get a flu shot, and I accept the risk that I may get the flu.  Your decisions might be different, and that's OK!

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The purpose of the original post was to see if camps had policies in place for future outbreaks.  The absence of outbreaks in the past is irrelevant when vaccination rates are declining to the point where "herd immunity" is decaying.  For measles, herd immunity requires a vaccination rate of 90-95% and many areas are already well below that (see map).  A single nurse isn't going to be able to handle a situation where 10% or more of the children in a large camp are infected.  Furthermore, measles patients are contagious four days before symptoms appear.  BSA has a religious component, so presumably it will respect non-vaccination choices for religious reasons, whether they are ostensible or not.  So, should camps have at least written policies in place indicating what will happen if (or when) an outbreak occurs?

Map source: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/a-quiet-rise-in-unvaccinated-children-could-put-the-u-s-at-risk-of-outbreaks

temp.jpg

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Talk to your council and camp directors about the issue. They are the ones who will set and enforce any policies on the matter. 

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30 minutes ago, malraux said:

Nope and I have lost any respect I might have had for your other positions. 

That's OK.  No one can force my family's medical decisions (and I have not shared what they are, other than me not getting a flu shot).

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@malraux, I would strongly suggest against throwing babies out with bathwater. It's entirely possible that someone could be wrong about one thing and quite right about another.

As to influenza vaccinations, it's true that the more people get them the better the odds of survival for the vulnerable in our communities. But, that's only to a point. @WisconsinMomma, I bet you probably are on that balancing point. The odds of you or your suffering gravely from your vaccination are likely balanced against the odds of someone around you suffering gravely from being exposed to the virus that you'll propagate. That differential becomes significant if you live/work around elderly, asthmatics, etc ... Personally, I missed a flu vaccine one year and got laid up for a week. This was before son #2 was born and had asthma. Me so achy I can't leave bed: no problem. My kid in respiratory shock: big problem.

Measles, tetanus, rubella, on the other hand, have striking effects. A break-out in a camp would be demoralizing.

But @RichardB, do we have incident reports of such things?

P.S. - As to this just being a council camp director's prerogative, some of us find ourselves on council camping committees. So, the discussion could be on a docket that we'll read and vote on. It would be nice to know what others do when, say, a med form appears with no records of vaccination.

 

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The national rule is tetanus is mandatory, the others are just recommended. 

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