California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today announced that the Department is investigating a child diagnosed with measles in Nevada County. The unvaccinated child showed symptoms of measles after returning to California from travel overseas. The child has fully recovered but many persons have been exposed including other unvaccinated students at the child’s school.
“As the state’s public health officer, it’s concerning to receive a report of a child with measles because it’s a disease that can easily be prevented,” said Dr. Smith. “Immunization is the best way to protect against measles. Two doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine are approximately 97 percent effective at preventing disease in exposed persons.”
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is spread through the air when a person who is ill with the disease coughs or sneezes. Symptoms begin with a fever, cough, and a runny nose, as well as red and watery eyes. These symptoms are followed by a rash that typically appears first on the face, along the hairline, or behind the ears and spreads to the rest of the body.
People with measles are usually contagious for about nine days, including the four days before their rash starts, the day of rash onset and ending four days after. Complications can include diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia. Severe complications can be fatal. Infants, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are more at risk of complications from measles.
Two doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine are recommended for school-aged children. It’s recommended that children get their first dose of MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age. The second dose of MMR vaccine is usually given at four to six years of age, but may be given sooner.
All persons who travel internationally outside of North or South America should ensure that they receive adequate MMR vaccination. Adults and children older than or at 12 months of age should receive two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days. Infants 6 – 11 months of age who are traveling abroad should receive one dose of MMR vaccine (although they will still need two doses of MMR vaccine after their first birthday).
Individuals getting ready to travel abroad can find information about vaccination from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more information about measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases visit www.getimmunizedca.org or call your doctor to make sure your family’s immunizations are up-to-date.