The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is urging Californians to make sure they are protected against measles. Vaccination is especially critical for those who plan to travel internationally.
In 2019 to date, there have been 38 cases of measles in California. This is an increase of 15 cases from last week, and compares with 11 cases at this time in 2018. Of the 2019 cases, 14 cases were in international travelers, 22 cases were due to spread from travelers to persons in California, and 2 cases are of unknown source.
Measles is currently widespread in many countries.
“Vaccination is the only way to ensure you and your family members will not get measles,” said State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith. “Many countries are currently experiencing widespread measles activity. Make sure you and your family are fully vaccinated before travelling internationally, and contact your healthcare provider immediately if anyone develops a rash and a fever while you are abroad, or when you return.”
The international travel associated with the 2019 California cases include India, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and the Ukraine.
Individuals returning from international travel should call their healthcare provider for advice and avoid contact with other people if measles symptoms develop. Measles begins with a fever that lasts for several days, followed by a cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (red eye) and a 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 from about 4 days before their rash starts to 4 days afterwards.