The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is investigating a confirmed case of measles in a county resident that 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 this case at this time.
There have been 15 cases of measles confirmed among Los Angeles County residents in 2019, in addition to eight non-resident cases that traveled through the county. The majority of cases to date were unvaccinated. This outbreak is not connected to outbreak that occurred in April.
With the ongoing occurrence of measles outbreaks in the United States and internationally, there is an increased risk when traveling to these locations at this time.
Public Health urges residents, especially those who have not been fully protected and those who travel internationally, to get measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunization to protect themselves and prevent the spread of measles.
“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 of measles and exposures may occur here related to returning travelers, especially returning international travelers who are not already protected. Travelers taking domestic trips should follow the general Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination recommendations. Those traveling internationally should ensure they have received two doses and consider the expedited schedule for infants less than 12 months old.
Measles is considered among the most contagious viruses in the world. About 90% of people who have never been immunized against the virus 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 include fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and a rash which usually appears 10 to 21 days after the exposure. The virus can be transmitted from one person to another up to four days before the onset of rash.
Individuals should contact their healthcare provider by phone before going in if they develop measles symptoms, so measures can be taken to prevent possible spread to others in the provider’s waiting room. They should also tell their doctor or other healthcare provider if they traveled internationally or had international visitors in the last 21 days or had exposure to another person with measles.
Public Health interviews all persons with measles in the county to identify who may have come in contact with them, in order to try to prevent further spread of the virus. Public Health communicates with health care providers, health plans, local governments, schools, and elected officials to provide updates on the outbreak and actions they can take to help prevent the spread of measles and support the countywide response.
Immunizations are available at healthcare providers, local pharmacy or health clinic. Public Health clinics offer no or low-cost immunizations for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. To find a nearby Public Health clinic, call 2-1-1 or visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/chs/phcenters.htm.
For more information, visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/measles or call 2-1-1.