You may have seen recent press regarding a surge in measles cases nationally. From January 1 to April 19, 2019, 626 measles cases have been confirmed in 22 states, including California. This is the second greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since the elimination of measles in 2000. To date, no measles cases have been reported in Orange County. The OCC Student Health Center has reported no measles cases to date.
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially serious disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. Measles is spread easily by air or direct contact with an infected person. Those infected with measles are contagious approximately 4 days before the rash appears until 4 days after the rash appears. Symptoms develop approximately 8-12 days after exposure to measles for those who have never had measles or are unvaccinated.
The best prevention for measles is vaccination. The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is safe and effective. One dose of MMR is approximately 93% effective at preventing measles, two doses of MMR increases effectiveness to 97%. Children receive two doses of MMR routinely at 12-15 months and a second dose at 4-6 years. MMR vaccination is required for entry into childcare facilities, preschools and grade schools in California. Adolescents and adults who have not received the vaccine or have not had measles should vaccinate with MMR. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are not sure if you are vaccinated. Maintaining high vaccination rates is vital to preventing outbreaks of disease in our communities.
Please view more information regarding measles vaccine and free and low-cost vaccinations.
Measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world. Those not protected against measles are at risk of infection when travelling internationally. Ensure you and your family are up to date with measles vaccination. Immediately call your doctor if you have been exposed to someone who has measles. Your doctor can determine if you are immune to measles and ensure that you are assessed without putting others at risk of infection.
Additional prevention strategies include:
- Frequent handwashing with soap and water.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing, or cough into your sleeve or elbow.
- Avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils.
- Disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as toys, keyboards, tables, counters, and doorknobs.
Orange County Healthcare Agency: (2019, April). Measles. Retrieved from OCHCA
CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: (2019, April). Measles (Rubeola). Retrieved from CDC