So far San Joaquin County has dodged the measles bullet.
While there have been 695 cases of the potentially deadly disease diagnosed across the country and 21 of those have been in California, the only potential case so far – which was reported at Kaiser Permanente’s Manteca Medical Center – turned out to be a false alarm.
But health experts aren’t taking any chances and are encouraging people who may be traveling as the warm spring weather approaches to make sure they are vaccinated and to take proper precautions to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
“Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of becoming infected during international travel,” San Joaquin County Public Health Services reported in a release this week. “Another point to remember is that even if you travel domestically, you have a chance of becoming exposed if you spend time in large airports that serve as hubs for international travel or if you fly on a plane with an international traveler inflicted by measles.”
According to health officials, the large majority of measles cases that have been diagnosed in California have come from people who have traveled to or from countries in which the disease is common. Both the individual travelers themselves and unvaccinated individuals who have been exposed to the infected travelers have been afflicted in California.
Just last month two travelers onboard a flight back to San Francisco caught measles from a third passenger, and all three lived in separate Bay Area counties although health officials believe the small outbreak was contained and no other cases were diagnosed as a result of exposure.
And just several weeks ago, Stanislaus County health officials warned of measles exposure in the county after an infected person visited several functions including an event at a Turlock High School.
With the weather finally warming up, health officials are anticipating a rise in the number of travelers are urging everybody who travels via airline – either internationally or domestically – to ensure that they are immunized against measles according to the vaccine schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Measles starts with a high fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, and the recognizable rash breaks out between three to five days after the first symptoms. Once affected, people are infectious for the four days prior to the appearance of the rash and up to four days after the rash appears.
For additional information about vaccinations against measles or other health concerns visit the Public Health Services of San Joaquin County website at www.sjcphs.org.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.