The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported there have been 46 cases of measles in the United States so far this year, CNN reported. Twenty-two of the 46 cases were in Arizona. Every single case of measles in Arizona has been connected to Eloy Detention Center.
Eloy Detention Center is a private detention center for illegal/undocumented immigrants in Pinal County, Arizona. Forbes suggested that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for the measles outbreak because ICE does not require its employees or subcontractors to be immunized.
"So far, 22 people have become ill with measles since late May, and health officials attribute the spread to the detention center's staff refusing vaccination."
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]
Eloy Detention Center is operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Dr. Thomas Schryer, the Pinal County health director, complained that ICE has been uncooperative.
"The problem is with the staff that don't want to comply with our recommendation that started on day one, which is to become vaccinated or provide proof of immunity.... Neither ICE or CCA requires or encourages staff to have proof of immunity for any disease. All they do is the required TB skin testing."
Graham Briggs, of the infectious diseases and epidemiology section of Pinal County Public Health Services District, explained that the measles outbreak had spread throughout Eloy Detention Center.
"We have not identified the individual that brought measles into the facility, but it was likely a detainee, staff member or visitor. Once in the facility it has been spreading amongst both staff and the detainee population."
According to the Los Angeles Times, the inmates at Eloy Detention Center have all been immunized, but some of the staff are still refusing to be vaccinated. The detention center has approximately 350 CCA employees, as well as an unknown number of ICE employees. For security reasons, the ICE does not publicly release information about its staff. Dr. Schryer estimates there are probably about 100 ICE staff members. Unfortunately, ICE does not require its employees to be immunized against measles. Dr. Schryer complained the center staff "are passing along the measles among each other and then going out into the community."
The outbreak in Arizona is the largest current measles outbreak in the United States. In 2000, the CDC declared measles eradicated in the United States. In 2016, measles are back, and nearly 50 percent of the cases in the U.S. this year can be traced to Eloy Detention Center.
Measles is both one of the most contagious diseases in the world and one of the most easily preventable diseases. Measles is so contagious that 90 percent of those who lack immunity (either through vaccination or having had measles previously) exposed to measles will catch the disease.
Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, warned how contagious measles is.
"It's so contagious people can catch it after going into a room two hours after someone with measles has been in it."Measles is easily preventable through proper vaccinations. Measles vaccinations do not cause autism. As the Inquisitr explained previously, measles is so contagious that a larger percentage of the population must be vaccinated to create "herd immunity."
"Those who can't be vaccinated depend on 'herd immunity,' which is protecting an entire community from a disease by immunizing a large enough percentage of the population. Measles are highly contagious, so it requires 95 percent of the community to be immunized in order to protect those people who aren't immunized yet or can't be immunized because of medical complications. Mumps, being less contagious, only require 75-85 percent of a community to be immunized. Anti-vaxxers create weak links in the chain of immunity, letting diseases slip through. This endangers not just their own families, but other people: infants too young to be vaccinated, the medically fragile, or the immunocompromised."
Measles is potentially deadly. Avoiding vaccinations because of groundless fears recklessly endangers lives. Roald Dahl, whose daughter died of measles before a vaccine was developed, wrote an open letter explaining why vaccinations were necessary. Apparently, the staff of Eloy Detention Center hasn't read that heartbreaking letter.
[Photo by Tom Stathis/AP Images]