O.C. Measles Cases Jump to 21, Health Officials Call for All to Be Inoculated

The average number is normally one or two. Orange County is outpacing all other counties statewide.

Measles cases in Orange County this year have jumped to 21, public health officials said. Patch file photo.
Measles cases in Orange County this year have jumped to 21, public health officials said. Patch file photo.

Orange County public health officials today recommended measles vaccinations for anyone not already inoculated, in light of 21 confirmed cases of measles so far this year, compared to one or two cases in an average year.

The 21 confirmed cases of measles outpaces any other county statewide, and the number is likely to go higher, officials with the Health Care Agency said.

Of the cases diagnosed, five have been in children, none of whom had been immunized, according to the agency. Five others are healthcare workers who got the viral infection from patients.

Anyone who believes they were exposed to measles were being told to stay home for three weeks to prevent spreading it.

Anyone exposed to measles can be contagious for four days -- before and after its characteristic skin rash shows. Anyone who believes they are infected is urged to get call a doctor before showing up in a waiting room, where the measles could spread to others.

Children should get a measles shot when they are about 1-year-old. A second vaccination is typically given when they are 4-6 years old and in school.

The disease can be spread through the air.

Orange County public health officials typically only document one or two cases per year, Nicole Stanfield of the Health Care Agency said.

Symptoms usually start 10-12 days after exposure, but sometimes up to three weeks later. Measles can push fevers as high as 105 degrees, sometimes coupled with a cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis or pink eye. Two to four days later, a rash develops, usually around the ears and hairline, that can spread to the face and arms and legs.

Last month, Dr. Matt Zahn of the Health Care Agency said many cases identified in California after the patient traveled outside the United States.

"This has been an issue for years," he said.

Measles is largely a thing of the past in the United States, so most people contract it in another country, Zahn said. In Orange County, those recently afflicted have traveled to and from the Philippines, Zahn said.

Unfounded skepticism about vaccinating children is also an issue, Zahn said.

"Parents are inundated with information questioning the value of vaccines," Zahn said, adding those claims are baseless.

The vaccine for measles works about 99 percent of the time, Zahn said.

--City News Service

Penny Arévalo March 28, 2014 at 02:23 AM
Oh, they're 100 percent safe in that the 1,000 healthcare workers got the vaccine and subsequently didn't die from the vaccine. They're (in this case), 99.5 percent effective in that .05 percent contracted measles. You can assign how good that is.
OldTimer March 28, 2014 at 01:22 PM
The problem, of course, is that there is a lack of scientific evidence (double-blinded studies) that prove no causal relationship between childhood vaccinations and a myriad of childhood disease (ie. encephalitis, autism, asthma, blood disorders, lupus, etc...) By age 6 children are expected to submit to 48 doses of 14 vaccines and that number is growing with the resurgence of diseases that we have not seen in epidemic proportions in decades. By age 18 it's 69 doses of 16 vaccines. Vaccines are not like pills, whereby if you discontinue the pill the adverse side effects disappear. Vaccines become an intergral part of the human body that cannot be reversed. It would seem that the US government would invest some money into scientifically investigating this controversial subject, by way of legitimate unbiased scientific evaluation, to resolve this matter one way of the other. If it can bail-out corporations to the tune of trillions of US taxdollars after bringing down the global economy, it would seem that there would be a few million left over to investigate vaccination safety. No 2 children are the same biologically. While the vaccines may be safe for one, it does not automatically follow they are safe for all. If I had a small child I must say that I would be a little apprehensive to permit 48 doses of 14 vaccines by age 6 without clear evidence that my child would not be harmed in the process. My opinion. As I pointed out earlier, perhaps we, as a nation, should look to the root cause to the resurgence of all these once eradicated childhood diseases. The CDC reports most can be tied, either directly or indirectly, to the importation of these diseases from other nations. Why aren't we mandating that those who travel to foreign nations be immunized to the measles (and other dangerous communicable viruses) prior to departure? And why aren't we effectively sealing our borders so that unwanted and unauthorized and medically unscreened intruders cannot easily bring their diseases into our country? Someone needs to start asking these unpopular but vital questions.
MFriedrich March 28, 2014 at 02:20 PM
"Why aren't we effectively sealing the borders"... Because it's not feasible, and the risk does not (right now) outweigh the reward (of free movement of people, goods and services, etc.) I don't know even know how any kind of "border sealing" could be done effectively without massive consequences. We could imagine what that might look like for one flight at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. A plane arrives there from Frankfurt with 300 passengers on it. Some of them from Germany, but others from Turkey, E. Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia perhaps. Are we going to set each passenger aside and perform blood, urine and saliva tests? What about just a cheek swab culture? Now multiply that process another 233,000 times as that is the annual influx of passengers only to O'Hare in one year (almost 70 million) Now expand that process out to other countries who would no doubt reciprocate such controls if the US implemented them. Traffic and commercial goods and services would come to a grinding halt. The risk does not outweigh the reward. That's why.
OldTimer March 28, 2014 at 03:38 PM
We could easily require all people who enter the US from other nations to have proof of vaccinations of measles and all the other nasty diseases that we eradicated decades ago that are making a comeback. We know that most of these diseases are being imported from other nations. So the logical approach would be to take action to combat their importations. That includes mandatory vaccines for international guests and getting serious about enforcing immigration laws at our borders and using vigorous domestic enforcement methods (E-Verify) to discourage illegal aliens from coming here in the first place. All of this is very practical and easily implemented. If other nations want to replicate those requirements - fine by me. Who are we to visit their nations and infect them with our diseases? Now is not a time to make excuses. Now is the time to take action and to prevent the importation of serious diseases from other nations when we know that is the reason for the resurgence of these diseases in our nation, per the CDC. The risk of this problem growing to epidemic proportions is certainly worth the risk of taking vigorous action to stop the importation of communicable disease. How many times have we heard that you can't place a value on a single human life. They use it all the time with gun control legislation. Why not with disease prevention?
Shawn Gordon April 06, 2014 at 01:26 PM


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »