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Measles outbreak traced to Clearwater private school

Title: Measles outbreak traced to Clearwater private school
Date: Wednesday, 31 August 1988
Publisher: St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
Author: Paul L. McGorrian
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CLEARWATER — The outbreak of measles reported by county health officials this week has been traced to the True School, a private school in Clearwater that uses the teachings of L. Run Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology.

A Health Department official said Tuesday that 40 of the 100 students at the school had not been immunized. But Sherry Payson, a spokeswoman for the school, said she thinks the figure is lower.

She said neither the school nor Scientology discourages inoculations.

Ms. Payson said the outbreak could be the result of an open house at the school at the end at July, which was attended by many people who are not normally affiliated with the school.

Twelve students at the school, ranging in age from 3 to 19, have contracted measles in the past few weeks, said Mike Nilsson, public health nursing supervisor in the epidemiology division of the Pinellas County Health Department.

Those who had not been immunized were immediately excluded from school until they received immunizations, Nilsson said.

State law mandates that all children in public or private schools be immunized against measles, mumps and rubella.

Ms. Payson said many of those who were sick have recovered and returned to school, as have those who required immunizations.

Nilsson said the department is investigating two other possible cases of measles — one in northern Pinellas County and the other in the southern end.

Measles symptoms include fever, rash, cough, watery eyes and runny nose. Small red spots show up on the skin, and complications from the illness can even lead to death.