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Societal Costs of Measles Outbreak in Clark County Estimated at $3.4 Million

MONDAY, March 15, 2021 -- The overall societal costs of a measles outbreak identified in Clark County in Washington state in 2018 to 2019 were estimated at $3.4 million, according to a study published online March 12 in Pediatrics.

Jamison Pike, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated costs related to an outbreak of measles in Clark County between Dec. 31, 2018, and April 26, 2019, with 72 confirmed cases, from the societal perspective. Information on costs was collected or estimated for the public health response, direct medical costs, and productivity losses.

The researchers found that the overall societal cost of the outbreak was ~$3.4 million ($47,479 per case; $814 per contact). Most of the costs were incurred by the public health response to the outbreak, followed by productivity loss and direct medical costs (~$2.3 million, ~$1.0 million, and ~$76,000, respectively). The majority of expenditures associated with the public health response were labor costs (~$1.9 million), which were primarily containment costs (~$1.8 million).

"Our estimates of the economic burden a measles outbreak from the societal perspective, in terms of public expenditures to address the measles outbreak, private expenditures incurred as direct medical costs, and productivity losses, indicate that undervaccination can carry a substantial cost for individuals, communities, and public health institutions and underscore the value of vaccination," the authors write.

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