Los Angeles–The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is investigating an additional confirmed case of measles in a Los Angeles County resident. This case is linked to four cases reported earlier this month, which together account for a five- case outbreak involving a close social group. Public Health has not identified any public exposure locations associated with these cases at this time.
With the on-going occurrence of measles outbreaks in the United States and internationally, there is an increased risk of measles when traveling to these locations at this time. Public Health urges residents, especially those who have not been fully protected against measles and those who travel internationally, to get measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunization to protect themselves and prevent the spread of measles.
Currently, there have been 15 measles cases among Los Angeles County residents in 2019, in addition to eight non-resident measles cases that traveled through Los Angeles County. The majority of cases to date were unvaccinated. This outbreak is not connected to outbreak that occurred in April.
“For those who are not protected, measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that initially causes fever, cough, red, watery eyes, and, finally, a rash,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer. “Measles spreads by air and by direct contact, even before you know you have it. The MMR immunization is a very effective measure to protect yourself and to prevent the unintentional spread of this potentially serious infection to others.”
Additional cases and exposures may occur here related to returning travelers, especially returning international travelers who are not already protected against measles. Travelers taking domestic trips should follow the general Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination recommendations. Those traveling internationally should ensure they have received two doses and consider the expedited schedule for infants less than 12 months old.
According to CDC, from January 1 to July 11, 2019, 1,123 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 28 states. This is an increase of 14 cases from the previous week. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
Measles is considered among the most contagious viruses in the world. About 90% of people who have never been immunized against measles become ill 7-21 days after exposure. Infected people can infect those around them before they have symptoms and know they are infected. Common symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and a rash which usually appears 10 to 21 days after the exposure. The measles virus can be transmitted from one person to another up to 4 days before the onset of rash.