Local News

Rubella Outbreak Mobilizes Bilingual Staff at Carrboro Clinic

Posted March 12, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— Orange County is scrambling to get the word out about arubellaoutbreak. One clinic is doing its best to get the word out to those most at risk.

Four people have come down with the disease in just a few days. Latino immigrants are especially susceptible because most have not been immunized.

A bilingual staff is a staple at the Carrboro Community Health Center. The Hispanic community makes up 35 percent of the patient roll; 60 percent when prenatal patients are included.

"Many Hispanic families have come to the area and are staying permanently," says Dr. Carol Klein, who has been working at the clinic for 17 years. She has noticed the demographic shift in the last five to 10 years.

"While we still want our traditional patients to feel at home here and feel like we're still here for them, I think we've made as welcoming an effort as we could to be here for the Hispanic population as well," says Klein.

That welcoming effort includes, among other things, patient education materials and information in both English and Spanish.

"The patients do feel comfortable because they come here knowing that they'll be able to see a doctor that speaks their language," says clinical assistant San Cohen.

A rubella scare has put the clinic on alert.

"In the past we've seen a pattern where cases have spread and have been reported to other counties," says Ann Zellmer, a spokesperson for the health center.

To help make sure this outbreak is contained, the Carrboro Community Health Center is giving free rubella immunization shots.

The shots will be given Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Carrboro Community Health Center.

A meeting is planned for Tuesday night to put together a countywide plan of action. Health care providers want to make sure they are not duplicating services.