Measles Returns to California for 2020
Feb. 10, 2020 — Measles has hit the Los Angeles area again, with five new confirmed cases. An international traveler who was not vaccinated had measles and exposed four local residents, public health officials confirm.
Another case was confirmed in northern California on Friday, according to Jayleen Richards, a public information officer for Solano County Public Health. She gave few details, except that the patient is a young child who lives in Benicia, northwest of San Francisco. Public health officials are identifying contacts of the child, who visited two Kaiser Permanente health care facilities in the area.
Last week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a list of public places the traveler with measles visited. The locations are mostly, but not all, in Santa Monica and on the city’s west side, and include coffee houses, pharmacies, restaurants, yogurt stores, salons, grocery stores, and gas stations.
“That list is really important for people who haven’t been vaccinated,” says Aaron Glatt, MD, chair of medicine and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside, NY.
Anyone who is not vaccinated should know that exposure carries a high risk of getting measles, he says.
“If you were in a classroom or waiting room and someone had measles and you sat there [for a time], 90% of unexposed, unvaccinated people would likely come down with measles if they had never had it and never been vaccinated.” Says Glatt, who’s also a professor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City.
Vaccinated people can breathe easier, he says. “People who have gotten two doses have over a 97% chance of not running into trouble,” he says. The protection after one of the two recommended doses is about 93%, he says. If someone was concerned about only having one dose, he would consider giving them a second one, he says.
The Public Health Department advised people who visited the sites and have not been vaccinated against measles or who do not know their immunization status to take action. Residents should review their records to see if they are protected; if they are not, public health officials urge them to get the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) immunization. Anyone who is pregnant, cares for an infant, or has a weakened immune system, regardless of their immunization status, should also seek medical advice, officials say.