The California Department of Public Health says that California has 32 confirmed cases of measles so far this year. At this time last year, only three cases had been reported.
The cases are reported in both Northern and Southern California. Measles was declared to be eliminated in 2000 in the United States and CDPH says that many cases are linked to travel to parts of the world where measles is circulating. Of the cases reported so far this year, seven people had traveled to the Philippines where a large outbreak of measles is ongoing, two had been to India and one had traveled to Vietnam.
Health officials recommend that anyone planning travel outside of North or South America and has not been vaccinated to make sure they get the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine before they go.
Children typically receive their first of two doses at 12 to 15 months of age and the second one before they start kindergarten. But babies as young as 6 months can be vaccinated at six months if they are traveling.
The breakdown of cases by California county is as follows:
Alameda — 1
Contra Costa — 4
Los Angeles — 10
Orange — 7
Riverside — 5
San Mateo — 1
San Diego — 3
Santa Clara — 1
Measles is a highly contagious illness, and infants, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk of complications which include pneumonia, diarrhea and even death, in severe cases. Measles can make a pregnant woman miscarry or give birth prematurely, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Here’s a description of measles symptoms from the California Department of Public Health:
Symptoms begin with a fever that lasts for a couple of days, followed by a cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes and rash. The rash typically appears first on the face, along the hairline, and behind the ears and then affects the rest of the body. Infected people are usually contagious for about eight days, four days before their rash starts and four days after.