A San Mateo County resident who recently traveled abroad tested positive for measles last week, according to local health officials who are promoting vaccines for the unimmunized.
“While measles is highly infectious, it is also a vaccine preventable disease,” county health officer Dr. Scott Morrow said in a prepared statement. “The recommended vaccine schedule produces nearly 100 percent immunity against measles, which is important when there is an increase in the spread of measles cases as we are seeing this year.”
The patient is currently being treated and the Health System issued advisories to all health care providers suggested testing for patients who have a fever and rash.
The county last reported a case of measles in 2012. Statewide, 15 cases are confirmed as of Feb. 21. The same time last year, there were only two cases reported in California.
Nearly all recent measles cases in the United States have been linked to international travel and Dr. Catherine Sallenave, the county’s communicable disease controller, said it will become more common as the viral disease spreads in many countries.
Symptoms of the airborne disease begin with a fever that lasts for a couple of days, followed by a cough; runny nose; red, watery eyes and rash. The rash typically appears first on the face, along the hairline, and behind the ears and then affects the rest of the body. Infected people are usually contagious for four days before and four days after their rash starts. Complications can include diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia and even death. Infants, pregnant women and people with comprised immune systems are more susceptible to complications from measles.
For immunization information see www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/.
International travelers can visit wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentVaccinations.aspx for information about travel vaccines.