A Measles Case Hits Google’s Silicon Valley Headquarters

SAN FRANCISCO — As Google fights criticism that it has let anti-vaccine disinformation flourish on its platform, the tech large’s Silicon Valley campus, the place hundreds work, is now confronting its personal in-house case of measles because the virus resurges throughout the United States.

In an e-mail despatched to some staff final week and obtained by BuzzFeed News, a workers physician at Google wrote employee who had lately been in one among its Mountain View, California, buildings had been recognized with measles.

David Kaye, an occupational drugs doctor at Google, wrote that the employee had been within the workplace on 1295 Charleston Road April four.

“We have been working with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and they would like us to share this measles advisory, which contains information on measles, exposure risks and actions to be taken,” Kaye wrote April 13, including that “this note is just a precaution.” Neither Kaye nor Google instantly responded to requests for remark.

A spokesperson for the county’s public well being company confirmed Wednesday afternoon that an unnamed grownup resident of San Mateo County “who visited Google” had contracted measles. The case is unrelated to earlier circumstances in Santa Clara County, and there’s no extra public well being danger, in accordance with the company.

The harmful virus was eradicated from the US in 2000 — however there at the moment are 555 circumstances throughout 20 states, the CDC stated this week. New York City has declared an area outbreak to be a public well being emergency and issued a compulsory vaccination order. In Santa Clara County, which incorporates Mountain View, there are 4 confirmed circumstances of measles, public well being officers stated Tuesday.

Public well being consultants blame the resurgence, a minimum of partly, on the unfold of anti-vaccine falsehoods on social media platforms. In February, BuzzFeed News discovered that YouTube’s algorithm continued to advertise anti-vax movies even whereas going through stress from US lawmakers to curb the content material. Following that story, YouTube demonetized, or eliminated advertisements, from these movies.

“We have strict policies that govern what videos we allow ads to appear on, and videos that promote anti-vaccination content are a violation of those policies,” a YouTube spokesperson stated in a press release to BuzzFeed News final month. “We enforce these policies vigorously.”

In 2015, Wired reported that one daycare at Google had a 68% measles vaccination fee, though Google contested the accuracy of the article on the time.

Even although measles is very contagious, the warning concerning the recognized worker has not been universally circulated inside Google or its father or mother firm, Alphabet. Five staff instructed BuzzFeed News that they had not obtained the e-mail or been in any other case instructed concerning the potential publicity.

The supply who despatched BuzzFeed News the e-mail stated they believed it went to everybody who labored within the 1295 Charleston constructing. And some staff who obtained the unique e-mail posted it on inner Google teams or forwarded it to colleagues in different buildings in case they lately visited 1295 Charleston, the individual stated.

The constructing is the house workplace for numerous Google executives. It’s unclear how many individuals work within the constructing.

Here is the e-mail from Google occupational drugs doctor David Kaye to some staff on April 13, 2019:

Dear all,

This notice is only a precaution. A Googler who was in Charleston 1295 on Thursday, April four, has been recognized with measles.

We have been working with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and they want us to share this measles advisory, which comprises info on measles, publicity dangers and actions to be taken. More info (together with a listing of incessantly requested questions) may be discovered on the CDC’s web page on measles.

If you might have any extra considerations, or have particular questions on your well being, please contact your main care supplier. If you study that you’ve a confirmed case of measles, please us know at go/sickness.

Caroline O’Donovan contributed reporting to this story.

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