Measles, a highly contagious disease that can sometimes be fatal, has struck two members of one household, the Fresno County Department of Public Health reported Tuesday.
The department acknowledged that at this point the risk to the general public is low but urged residents to make sure they and their children are up to date on measles vaccinations, particularly before traveling to countries that still have measles outbreaks.
CDC Posts Measles Warning for Foreign Travel
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles travel health notices have been posted for countries in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Oceania.
Fresno County public health officials are working with the California Department of Public Health and Madera County Department of Public Health to contact individuals who may have been exposed to the two Fresno County individuals who are infected with measles.
The cases are travel-related and pediatric, a public health official told GV Wire.
Measles can be easily contracted by breathing in air in a room shared with an infected person. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and a rash that typically starts on the face and then spreads on the body.
Children younger than 5, pregnant women, and those who are immunocompromised are at a higher risk of developing pneumonia and neurological complications that can result in their being hospitalized and that sometimes is fatal.
Those With Symptoms Should Stay Home, Contact Doctor
People with symptoms should stay at home, verify their immunization status, and then contact their doctor by phone for instructions, the health department said. The best prevention for measles is to get vaccinated with the measles vaccine, which is part of the MMR vaccine that also protects against mumps and rubella.
“These cases are reminders of the critical role of vaccinations in protecting the community,” Fresno County Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said in a news release. “The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from measles is to get vaccinated. We urge all parents to please work with your pediatrician or contact the health department to help get your child up to date on vaccinations.”
The last large outbreak of measles in California was from December 2014 to April 2015 and was associated with Disneyland. At least 131 California residents were infected as well as residents of six other states, Canada, and Mexico.