WESTON, FLA. (WSVN) - - Broward County Public Schools officials have confirmed three additional measles cases at an elementary school in Weston, as the Florida Department of Health attempts to determine how the highly contagious disease spread on the campus.

The update, provided by BCPS spokesperson John J. Sullivan on Saturday afternoon, brings the total number of cases reported at Manatee Bay Elementary School to four.

The school district confirmed one case at the school on Friday afternoon.

Sullivan issued a statement that reads:

“The health, safety and welfare of our students and staff remain our utmost priority. The District continues to work closely with the Florida Department of Health – Broward following three additional confirmed measles cases at Manatee Bay Elementary School. The school’s principal is keeping families informed and following health department guidelines to safeguard our community.”

John J. Sullivan, Chief Communications and Legislative Affairs Officer, Broward County Public Schools

Officials with FDOH in Broward said those who have had the full series of MMR vaccines — the shots for measles, mumps and rubella — are about 98% protected from the disease.

FDOH officials said they are working with BCPS to investigate the four cases at Manatee Bay Elementary.

Dr. Ron Ford, chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, said measles is caused by viruses like the cold, flu or COVID-19.

Ford said the disease starts with high fever, cough, inflammation around the eyes and its most telltale symptom.

“The hallmark of measles is the rash, though, and that occurs a few days later. The rash is red, dotted rash that starts on the face, around the hairline, behind the ears, and then spreads to the trunk and then to the extremities,” he said. “That’s one of the unique features of the measles rash, is where it starts and the way it spreads.”

Experts say the transmission period is roughly four days before the rash is visible and four days after the rash appears.

South Florida is not alone is seeing mounting measles cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 20 measles cases in 11 other states as of Thursday: Arizona, California, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Also on Thursday, a House subcommittee on the COVID pandemic talked about lower rates of vaccinations.

“I’m very concerned with the hesitancy by so many today to vaccinate their children. That’s a grave concern of mine,” said U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup from Ohio.

“Right now, we are already witnessing an alarming rise in overall vaccine hesitancy, which has been fueled by myths and disinformation spread online during the last four years,” said U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz from California.

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said vaccines save lives.

“Vaccines work. We know from clear and compelling evidence that vaccines save the lives of millions of children and adults every year by producing immune responses that prevent diseases such as measles, influenza and COVID-19,” said Marks.

Officials have not specified whether it was a student or staff who brought the disease to Manatee Bay Elementary.

Officials urge people who notice any of the symptoms in their households to contact their health provider before going to their office.

FDOH officials said the details of their investigation will be kept confidential.

According to the CDC, measles was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but the number of Americans who are unvaccinated or undervaccinated led to a spike of cases in 2019, the largest number in 27 years.

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