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Los Angeles County Public Health Investigates Measles Outbreak

Courtesy Newsweek

Residents urged to get measles immunization to protect their health and prevent disease spread

LOS ANGELES – Given widespread outbreaks in the United States and internationally, and locally-acquired cases, the chance of exposure to measles is increased at this time. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is investigating a number of reports of measles in Los Angeles County residents (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena as any cases identified in those cities are reported by their local health departments). These include a local outbreak of four confirmed measles cases linked to one another after international travel and an additional single case of measles after international travel. Public Health urges residents who have not been fully immunized against measles with two doses of the measles immunization, to contact their healthcare provider to get fully immunized in order to better protect their individual health and to prevent the spread of measles to others.

Infected people can infect those around them before they have symptoms and know they are infected. The measles virus can be transmitted from one person to another up to 4 days before the onset of rash. About 90% of people who have never been immunized against measles become ill 7-21 days after exposure.

These five cases are the first cases of measles confirmed by Public Health among Los Angeles County residents and the first cases of transmission within LA County in 2019. These are unrelated to the four non-resident cases that traveled through Los Angeles County earlier this year. The majority of the cases were unvaccinated.

“We will likely see additional measles cases in Los Angeles County, so it is important if you or someone you know has the symptoms of measles or has been exposed to measles to contact your healthcare provider by phone right away before seeking treatment,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer. “The best way to protect yourself and to prevent the spread of measles is to get the measles immunization, with two doses of measles immunization being about 97% effective at preventing measles.”

Public Health recommends the following:

  • All children should receive two doses of measles immunization. The first should be administered between the ages of 12 to 15 months, and the second between the ages of 4 and 6 years. Written confirmation from the administering doctor or other clinician should be kept. The immunization can be given from ages 6-11 months, if there is concern about direct exposure to measles or if travel to places with current measles outbreaks is anticipated.
  • All other persons should locate written verification they have received 2 doses of measles immunization in their life. The second dose recommendation was not made until 1989, so many adults have received only 1 dose.
  • Those who are unable to locate written verification of 2 doses of measles immunization should receive 1 dose right away and a second dose in 4 weeks.

When Public Health identifies contacts of a person confirmed to have measles during an investigation and that contact does not have written verification of 2 measles immunization doses, they will be subject to quarantine of up to 21 days from date of exposure. This will be enforced by a Health Officer Order for quarantine. A blood test may be done to check for immunity and possible removal of the order for quarantine.

Public Health is disclosing information below on locations where measles exposure may have occurred. This disclosure is necessary to reach individuals who may have been exposed because they were present at these locations during the dates and times noted below. In situations where all persons who have been exposed can be identified, Public Health works with organizations, case contacts, and family members to directly notify everyone involved.

The following locations have been currently identified as potential measles exposures:

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Tom Bradley International Terminal, arrived at Gate 218 on April 1 from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Franz Hall on April 2, 4, and 9 and Boelter Hall on April 2 and 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 6 :00 p.m.
  • California State University, Los Angeles, Main Library, on April 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • El Pollo Loco Restaurant, 1939 Verdugo Blvd, La Cañada Flintridge, on April 11 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • El Sauz Tacos, 4432 San Fernando Rd, Glendale, on April 13 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

There is no known current risk related to measles that exists at any of these venues at this time.

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