At least 200 People May Have Been Exposed to Measles in California Hospital

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Due to the prominent rise of “anti-vaxxers” across the country, we are seeing a strong resurgence of measles outbreaks, a disease practically preventable through the use of vaccinations. Now, authorities at the University of California, Davis Hospital have issued a warning that at least 200 people may have been exposed to this infectious disease.

Officials are saying a 7-year old girl was brought into the ER two weeks ago with symptoms synonymous with measles, according to Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis. She said the child was exhibiting “some symptoms of measles, but not the typical textbook characteristics of measles.” Measles can be tough to diagnose quickly, as it starts out like many other common respiratory infections in children.

“The patient came to the emergency department on March 17 and the patient was suspected of having measles on March 19,” Blumberg said. “At that time, the patient was placed in appropriate isolation.”

Exposure to measles spells out a precarious situation in efforts of keeping infection contained, as infected persons can go days without exhibiting any signs of infection. Blumberg said “Most cases of measles occur eight to 12 days after exposure, but it can occur up to three weeks after exposure.”

She continued “Even vaccinated individuals can get measles because the vaccine is not 100 percent perfect. We need a very high vaccination rate because when measles is introduced to communities that have parents who don’t immunize their children, these clusters of cases can occur.”

Measles is classified as a highly infectious disease by the Centers for Disease Control. Infection begins with the sudden appearance of a rash and can be easily spread through coughing and sneezing, with the virus having the ability to live in the air for up to 2 hours. Symptoms include a moderate to high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Some people can experience serious complications like severe pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain), both of which can lead to hospitalization and even death.

Back in 2000, measles was considered to have been eliminated from the US, though it has made a resurgence due to a rise in popularity of the anti-vaccine movement. Measles is preventable by getting the MMR vaccine, which protects against it, in addition to mumps and rubella. Children are recommended to get two doses of the vaccine – one at 12 -15 months and the other at 4 – 6 years old.

A lower rate of vaccinations has resulted in cases popping up in more than 15 states. This year alone we have seen at least 387 reported cases, up from 372 cases in all of 2018. Robert Cattaneo, a measles researcher and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Mayo Clinic told NBC News “It seems that we may be approaching the level where measles could be considered again to be endemic in the United States.”

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