The suspected case of measles that was reported on Monday at Kaiser Permanente’s Manteca Medical Center turned out to be a false alarm.
According to San Joaquin County Public Health Services, the agency notified the healthcare facility early Tuesday morning that the results from a test conducted on a suspected pediatric patient Monday came back negative.
Reports began to circulate on social media Monday afternoon that the patients were being kept from leaving the facility after the suspected case was discovered, but the Northern California healthcare provider clarified in a statement to the media that the facility was never formally placed in a “lockdown” mode – patients who were in the area of the individual suspected of having measles were simply screened for their immunization status as part of the system’s protocol for handling potentially contagious viruses like the one that was being tested for.
The immunization status of the patient was not released by either Kaiser or San Joaquin County Public Health Services, and the company apologized to patients who may have been impacted by the protocols once they were enacted.
“Kaiser Permanente works closely with local and state public health agencies, and we have policies and practices in place to protect the health and safety of our members and employees,” Chyresse Hill of Kaiser’s Media Relations team wrote in a release on Tuesday. “We apologize for any inconvenience to our patients and members yesterday while this patient was being evaluated.”
The scare came on the heels of an announcement earlier this month that three people that were aboard an international flight to San Francisco International Airport tested positive for the virus – with one suspected carrier and two that contracted the virus after being exposed during the flight. The cases were reported in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara counties, and no other cases from the outbreak were reported.
While the age of the patient in Monday’s incident was not reported, patients who had taken their children to the pediatric clinic reported being screened before being able to leave the facility – giving them the impression that it was potentially a child in the clinic that authorities suspected may have had the virus.
According to the World Health Organization, vaccinations against the virus resulted in a 75 percent reduction of death from worldwide from 2000 through 2013. In 1980, the agency reported, there were 2.6 million deaths associated with measles, and that number shrunk to less than 75,000 by 2014 – with most of those being children under the age of five years old.
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