Today is one of the largest spectator events in the US–Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Az, and one of the safety concerns is measles.
The current measles outbreak in the country has topped 100 cases in several states, with more than half epidemiologically linked to Southern California Disney theme parks.
Arizona, the host of the Super Bowl, has confirmed seven measles cases; however, Arizona health officials say they’ve identified 1,000 contacts of the measles patients.
In an NBC report Friday, correspondent Hallie Jackson reported that one health official from Maricopa County said he is not concerned about measles spreading since the number of cases is so low. Jackson goes on to report that it is more likely you’d contract the flu than measles.
In a roundtable discussion on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Friday, former Vermont Governor and physician, Howard Dean said, “This is “nut-job” medicine, the problem is there is a herd immunity problem. People are going to die that are old or immunocompromised. There’s a small death rate for children as well.
“This is not fair, we ought to go back to the policy that kids can’t go to school, and be with other kids, if they haven’t been vaccinated.”
Even the White House has chimed in on the vaccination issue in light of the current outbreak.
“People should evaluate this for themselves with a bias toward good science and toward the advice of our public health professionals,” President Barack Obama’s spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
Asked whether people should be getting vaccinated, Earnest said: “That’s what the science indicates.”
“The science on this is really clear,” Earnest added.
The Maricopa County Health Department has published a measles screening tool for Emergency Departments to assist in awareness and early detection of the viral disease.
The Arizona Department of Health says the federal government considers the Super Bowl to be an “event of national significance”, which prompts a number of public safety and health activities.
According to health director, Will Humble, they include BioWatch and Suspicious Substance Testing, and Enhanced Public Health Surveillance.