Local News

Plant Workers Diagnosed with Rubella

Posted May 1, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A case of fear broke out Thursday morning at a Hoke County turkey plant following news of two diagnosed cases of rubella.

Supervisors at the House of Raeford are trying contain the outbreak before it spreads. The Hoke County Health Department is attempting to immunize as many people as possible. So far, 500 workers at the plant have been vaccinated.

Two Mexican migrant workers were found to have the contagious disease. That concerns health officials because Mexicans often are not immunized against mumps, measles and rubella as are most United States residents. That makes the migrant community highly susceptible to a rapid spread of the disease, which can be particularly dangerous to pregnant women.

Hoke Health Director Don Womble told WRAL-TV5's Bret Baier most people don't have to worry, but that anyone who is pregnant and believes she may have been exposed should contact her doctor.

Womble says most U.S. residents are immune, but would not be terribly sickened if they acquired the disease. But a first trimester fetus could be seriously endangered.

Health officials are also going out into the migrant community to educate, immunize and see if others have contracted rubella.

In recent years there have been outbreaks in Union and Chatham Counties.