Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rural lack of anonymity amidst a measles outbreak

A story in the New York Times today about the measles outbreak affecting more than a dozen states included these bit about the impact in Kearny, Arizona, population 1950, which is described as a "small rural community with an economy tied to a nearby copper mine."
[A] single family’s Christmas vacation has upended the rhythms of daily life. The family visited Disneyland in December, and four of its unvaccinated members came back with measles; a fifth person in Kearny also contracted the disease. 
Now, many businesses in town — the grocery store, the post office, and more — have measles alerts in the windows featuring a blond boy with a rash all over his face. Several signs say that someone with the measles was in the store at a specific time last week and advise others who were there at the same time to be alert to symptoms.
The story quotes several Kearny residents regarding their attitudes toward the situation and the family who didn't get vaccinated.  It's especially interesting to consider these comments since everyone in Kearny knows who the family is.  

Interestingly, school officials there report that the children who contracted measles at Disneyland are the only ones in the school district who have not been vaccinated.   Compare that with the rate of non-vaccination for measles in San Geronimo, California, another place featured in the NYT story:  40%.  A whopping 58% of San Geronimo students are not fully vaccinated.  San Geronimo is in Marin County, north of San Francisco, and the story characterizes it as "a mostly rural community of rolling hills and oak."  I suspect it is characterized as "mostly rural" because of the rolling hills and oak.  After all, Marin County is metropolitan, with a population of a quarter million, and San Geronimo is just 8 miles from Novato, population 51,904. 

No comments: