State Senator, Advocates Release Per County Cost of Recent Measles Outbreak

A pediatrician vaccinates a small boy  (iStock)

Health advocates say containing and investigating the wave of measles cases this year comes with a hefty price tag.

Every time a new or potential measles case is reported, it requires a thorough public health investigation. That means blood tests, informing the public and tracking down people who may have been exposed.

Measles is highly contagious. One infected student at University of California, Los Angeles' campus last month exposed hundreds of people and triggered a quarantine.

State Senator Richard Pan, who’s also a pediatrician, says that these investigations take a lot of time and money.

"Here in Los Angeles, the cost associated with just containing just three measles exposures related to travel at LAX earlier this year have already cost county taxpayers more than $80,000," said Pan.

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Pan said the outbreaks of measles have cost affected counties a total of more than $400,000 so far. Pan presented these figures Friday at a press conference with community health advocates.

In the Bay Area, there has been one reported case of measles in San Francisco, four in San Mateo and four in Santa Clara. The costs associated with the cases in Santa Clara added up to $130,246, which included personnel costs, lab tests and communications materials.

Butte County had had the highest number of reported cases of measles with 11. The cost for that was $81,610.

He has authored legislation that aims to crack down on exemptions from vaccinations for religious reasons. The bill will be considered by a state senate committee next week.

According to a press release from Pan's office, measles was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000. In 2019, there were 44 cases reported in California.