California is currently experiencing a large outbreak of measles. The outbreak started in December 2014 when at least 40 people who visited or worked at Disneyland theme park in Orange County in mid-December contracted measles and has now spread to at least half a dozen other states. Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It is widespread in many parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and Asia. Measles begins with a fever that lasts for a couple of days, followed by a cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (pink eye), and a 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 from about 4 days before their rash starts to 4 days afterwards. Children routinely get their first dose of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine at 12 months old or later. The second dose of MMR is usually administered before the child begins kindergarten but may be given one month or more after the first dose. For anyone planning to travel internationally, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) strongly encourages all Californians to make sure they are protected against measles and other dangerous diseases before they go abroad.
According to Dr. Gil Chavez, State Epidemiologist and Deputy Director, Center for Infectious Diseases, California Department of Public Health:
“Measles is highly contagious and highly preventable through vaccinations. CDPH is urging caution to individuals who are not vaccinated, especially infants under 12 months. Any place where large numbers of people congregate and there are a number of international visitors, like airports, shopping malls and tourist attractions, you may be more likely to find measles, which should be considered if you are not vaccinated. It is safe to visit these places, including the Disneyland Resort, if you are vaccinated. Therefore, CDPH recommends that anyone not already immunized against measles gets immunized at this time. Two doses of measles-containing vaccine (MMR vaccine) are more than 97 percent effective in preventing measles. If you are unsure of your vaccination status, check with your doctor to have a test to check for measles immunity or to receive vaccination.”
For additional information on California measles cases, please see the Measles Surveillance Updates. These updates will be posted every Friday.
How Well-Vaccinated Is Your Child's Child Care Facility/School?
Child care facilities with low vaccination rates are at increased risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Some children are allowed by California law to skip immunizations if a parent submits a personal beliefs exemption (PBE) or medical exemption (PME) at enrollment. Other children, may be admitted to child care on the 'condition' they complete remaining vaccinations when due. Often there is no follow-up and these children remain under-vaccinated. To lookup vaccination rates at your child care/ school, click below:
Child Care/Preschool | Kindergarten | 7th Grade