Recently, measles cases reported on the West Coast in Washington and Oregon have been traced to an international traveler that went to an area with low vaccination rates. The Washington State Department of Health is updating their confirmed measles cases daily
, and as of Feb. 6, there were at least 50 confirmed cases of measles – prompting a declaration of a public health emergency. Currently, Sacramento County has no measles cases, but it’s important to know how quickly this deadly virus can be transmitted by travel.
The measles virus is highly contagious and can be deadly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1-2 people will die from measles out of 1,000 cases and about one in four who get the measles will need to be hospitalized, and for some children, measles can lead to pneumonia, deafness, lifelong brain damage, and even death.
Vaccination is the only protection against measles and by getting the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, you safely and effectively protect yourself, your family and the whole community.
These imported measles cases can start an outbreak with under-vaccinated groups. The common symptoms of measles include cough, runny nose, red eyes, followed by fever and a red rash starting on the face and spreading downward on the body. The measles is a highly contagious virus that is spread to others by coughs and sneezes. The contagious period starts four days before the rash appears. The symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected. The CDC also reports that nine out of 10 people around the infected person will also become infected if they are not protected – that’s roughly a 90% infection rate. Additionally, the virus stays in the air up to two hours after a person with measles who coughs or sneezes has left a room.
Sacramento County Public Health
strongly encourages those who are 12 months or older that are not vaccinated to get immunized with the two-dose measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine series. For those adults or children who are unsure of their vaccination history should check with their healthcare provider.
“One dose of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, or MMR for short, provides up to 95 percent protection,” said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Kasirye. “Most children routinely get a first dose of the vaccine at 12 months of age. The second dose is usually administered when children start kindergarten, but can be given as soon as a month after the first dose. That second dose boosts protection to nearly 100 percent.”
Children can receive immunizations from their health care provider. For those with no insurance coverage for immunizations, the Sacramento County Department of Health Services Immunization Assistance Program
provides low/no cost immunizations/vaccinations to children under the age of 19. To learn more about immunizations for children and adults, vaccine-preventable diseases, or clinics near you, call (916) 875-7468 (SHOT).
Additional Immunization Resources