Managing Disease Outbreaks of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Mar 06, 2017 | Kim Rodgers

Safe, effective, life-saving – the benefits of vaccines for protecting public health are numerous and robust. Yet, in the U.S., there continues to be a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles and mumps. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a record number of measles cases (667) in 2014, followed by a large, multi-state measles outbreak in 2015. In 2016, the nation experienced more than 5,300 cases of mumps, the most in a decade. Now, in 2017, communities are experiencing much of the same. One state, in particular, has been heavily affected.

Since October 2016, Washington (WA) has reported 550 cases of mumps, primarily located in King County and Spokane County. These cases have occurred in school-aged children, as well as college students and adults, reinforcing that these diseases do not just affect children; they can strike at any time across the lifespan. Although some of these cases are occurring in fully vaccinated individuals, it does not mean vaccination is not effective. In fact, without the power of vaccination, an outbreak like this would have much larger repercussions on public health. As such, the benefits of childhood immunization – and the risks of failing to vaccinate – extend into adulthood.

For example, mumps is rarely fatal but it can lead to complications such as meningitis and deafness. Measles, however, can produce more severe complications including pneumonia, encephalitis, premature birth in pregnant women, and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), a very rare, but fatal disease of the central nervous system that can develop seven to 10 years after contracting measles. Immunization can prevent such complications, which not only benefits community health, but also protects precious public health resources.

“The resurgence of mumps outbreaks in the US, including King County and Washington State, in recent years is putting an additional strain on already overburdened local health departments and our community partners,” said Jeff Duchin, MD, Health Officer of Public Health – Seattle & King County (WA).

Essentially, when cases of vaccine-preventable disease arise, local health departments lead infection control and outbreak prevention efforts that deplete departmental funding and divert staff from other pressing public health issues. In 2011, the cost of 107 measles cases occurring in multiple outbreaks cost local and state health departments an estimated $2.7 million to $5.3 million and involved contacting somewhere between 8,900 and 17,450 individuals, which required 42,000 to 83,000 personnel hours. That’s a great deal of time and money spent on a highly preventable issue.

“The large amount of staff time and resources necessary to identify, test and take disease control actions to prevent spread of measles and mumps, including isolation of contagious cases, contact tracing and vaccination where needed, has placed an additional burden on both public health programs already diminished to an unhealthy level, as well as on many schools, colleges and universities,” said Duchin.

NACCHO encourages its members to review our statement on vaccination, continue promoting the importance of vaccination to community members, and reach out to policymakers to support funding for immunization and outbreak response programs.

For more information on managing disease outbreaks, email NACCHO’s Preparedness Team.


About Kim Rodgers

Pronouns: She/Her

Kim Rodgers was formerly the Communications Manager at NACCHO.

More posts by Kim Rodgers

Related Posts

I Stock 1406072634
  • Community Health Emergency Response Health & Disability

Addressing the Needs of People with Disabilities in...

Addressing the needs of people with disabilities in local preparedness...

Jul 19, 2024 | Uyen Tran

Addressing the Needs of People with Disabilities in...

FCN taking B Ps web
  • Medical Reserve Corps

Partnering with Faith Communities to Provide Health...

See how this Ohio Medical Reserve Corps unit partners with churches to offer...

Jul 17, 2024 | Beth Hess

Partnering with Faith Communities to Provide Health...

  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis HIV, STI, Viral Hepatitis, and Harm Reduction Digest

Digest (July 17, 2024)

HIV, STI, Viral Hepatitis, and Harm Reduction Digest: July 17, 2024

Jul 17, 2024

Digest (July 17, 2024)

UMN CHW Toolkit 2024 Page 01 v2
  • Tools & Resources Community Health Performance Improvement Training

New Resources: Health Equity Performance Measures and...

NACCHO and CPHS create resources to support health equity and community health...

Jul 17, 2024 | Glenda Young- Marquez

New Resources: Health Equity Performance Measures and...

Untitled
  • Performance Improvement Research & Reports Workforce Development

Modernizing Public Health: Insights into Local Health...

Strong public health data, informatics, and analytics are vital to local health...

Jul 16, 2024 | Krishna Patel, DrPH, Kellie Hall, MS, and Meghan Shea, MPH

Modernizing Public Health: Insights into Local Health...

  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis

NACCHO Applauds FDA Approval of First Point-of-Care RNA...

On June 27, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever...

Jul 16, 2024 | Kat Kelley

NACCHO Applauds FDA Approval of First Point-of-Care RNA...

I Stock 1319087136

Fighting the Rising Tides of Vaccine Hesitancy Among...

In the Spring of 2024, the Wyandotte County Health Department completed a rapid...

Jul 15, 2024 | Hannah Conner

Fighting the Rising Tides of Vaccine Hesitancy Among...

Climate Ready Workforce web
  • Tools & Resources Climate Change Rural and Frontier Health Rural Health

New Guide to Building a Climate-Ready Rural Workforce

Practical guide supports rural health departments in their efforts to build a...

Jul 15, 2024 | Nikita Kheni

New Guide to Building a Climate-Ready Rural Workforce

Capitol Bulding

House Appropriations Committee Passes FY25 Labor-HHS Bill

Coverage of the FY25 House Appropriations Committee Labor-HHS funding bill

Jul 12, 2024 | Victoria Van de Vate, Lauren Mastroberardino, Molly Curington

House Appropriations Committee Passes FY25 Labor-HHS Bill

Back to Top