First Measles Case of 2014 reported in San Mateo County

posted by Barry Parr
Tue, February 25, 2014
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A San Mateo County resident who had recently traveled internationally has been found to be infected with measles, reported the San Mateo County Health System this afternoon.

As of Feb 21, the California Department of Public Health had confirmed 15 cases of measles in California residents, many of which involve cases of returning international travelers and their contacts. This time last year, CDPH had reported only two measles cases in California.

A case of measles was identified last week in a San Mateo County resident who had recently traveled internationally. The individual is currently under provider care. The Health System uses guidelines set forth by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to follow up on any potential exposure contacts.

“While measles is highly infectious, it is also a vaccine preventable disease,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, Health Officer for San Mateo County. “The recommended vaccine schedule produces nearly 100% immunity against measles, which is important when there is an increase in the spread of measles cases as we are seeing this year.”

The Health System issued a public health advisory http://smchealth.org/alerts to County healthcare providers, informing them of the measles case and advising if patients present with a fever and rash, consider testing for measles and taking measures to protect patients and staff from this highly contagious disease.

As of Feb 21, 2014, CDPH had confirmed 15 cases of measles in California residents, many of which involve cases of returning international travelers and their contacts. This time last year, CDPH had reported only two measles cases in California.

There were no reported cases of measles in San Mateo County at this time last year. The last reported case in the County was in 2012.

While high immunization rates have kept measles and other childhood diseases at bay in the U.S., measles cases continue in other countries such as India, and the Philippines, where there is currently a large outbreak. Nearly all recent measles cases in the U.S. have been linked to international travel.

“As measles continues to spread in many countries, we can expect measles to become increasingly common in our own communities,” said Dr. Catherine Sallenave, San Mateo County Communicable Disease Controller. “By making sure your family is properly vaccinated, you can help prevent and stop the spread of measles, and protect others, such as infants too young to be vaccinated.”

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that spreads easily through the air when someone who is ill with the disease coughs or sneezes. 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 four days before and four days after their rash starts. Complications can include diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia and even death. Infants, pregnant women and people with comprised immune systems are more susceptible to complications from measles. 

For immunization information visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/

Individuals planning to travel abroad can visit wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentVaccinations.aspx for information about travel vaccines.

For more information about measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases in California, visit www.getimmunizedca.org or call your doctor to make sure your family’s immunizations are complete and up-to-date.

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