Measles booster shots continue City fights epidemic threat in Roland Park.

April 10, 1991|By Patrick Ercolano | Patrick Ercolano,Evening Sun Staff

Roland Park Elementary-Middle School students still were being re-immunized today against a possible outbreak of measles.

City health nurses were expected back at the 1,700-student school tomorrow afternoon for another session of booster shots.

Two suspected cases of measles were reported at the school in late March. The school was closed the week of March 31 for spring break, but students were told to return to classes last Monday with proof that they had received a second measles shot.

"You want to try to give them that second shot within two weeks of a report of a suspected case," said Ed Hirshorn, assistant chief in the immunization division of the state Health Department. "That's why there was this rush to re-immunize the Roland Park students, because the suspected cases happened two weeks ago."

To date, Roland Park, at 5207 Roland Ave., is the only city school where the city has dispatched an emergency vaccination clinic. Students were given shots last Wednesday and Thursday and every day this week, said Hirshorn.

There have been six actual cases of measles in city schools this year and five in Baltimore County schools, Hirshorn said. Cecil County, with 12 cases, has reported the worst outbreak in the state.

Anne Arundel and Howard counties were hit hard by measles in recent months, although the number of actual and suspected cases has dropped since booster shot programs were begun in those subdivisions, Hirshorn said.

"Students are required by state law to have one measles shot, but it's been shown that one is not quite enough," he said. "In a population group, 95 percent will be protected against measles with one shot. Still, that means that in a school with 1,000 kids, 50 will not be immune. The second shot gives 99 1/2 percent immunity."

Hirshorn advised parents of sixth-grade students to see that their children have been immunized twice against measles. Students of all ages should get a second shot if a suspected measles case has been reported at their schools.

Measles can be fatal or result in encephalitis, leading to convulsions, deafness or mental damage.

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