INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Schools are on alert as efforts to keep the measles outbreak in Central Indiana under control go into high gear. But people are worried. Today, 29 students were vaccinated at a clinic at White River Elementary School in Noblesville. And the state's largest school system, IPS, is taking precautions just in case.
Rae Wallis, head of the IPS' department of Nursing and Health Services sits at her desk checking "CHIRP" the online statewide data base of immunization records.
"We look at everybody. Everybody when you come in and enroll in school you have to have a shot record," she says.
Wallis says any communicable disease threat is taken seriously.
"Our school nurses have been reviewing records to check on the kids that have not had their shots," she says.
Wallis says research shows just more than 100 of the 33,000 IPS students are missing at least one measles vaccine.
It was two unvaccinated students with measles in Noblesville, one attending White River Elementary and one attending Noblesville Intermediate that prompted the decision to keep any student not vaccinated out of those schools.
"If you weren't immunized and you were at the school at the time there was an active infected case, then you cannot return to school because you yourself may be incubating the disease," says Dr. Gregory Larkin, State Health Commissioner.
Dr. Larkin says the decision to keep unvaccinated students at home is made by the county and state health department and not the school system itself.
"And we also have to verify that the teachers themselves have immunity, and that's what we were doing at the State Department of Health late into last night," says Larkin.
Any teacher found without immunity, like the students, must stay home. And that Dr. Larkin says points out a problem with the system. Teachers and staff at schools are not required to verify immunity. He says he is now working with the Department of Education on that issue. Anytime there's an event like this, Larkin says questions are raised and changes can be made.
The Indiana State Department of Health now has a hotline open for those with questions about Measles. If you have question you can call 1-877-826-0011 between 8:15 and 4:45 Monday through Friday.
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