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7th Case of Measles Confirmed in LA County

May 02, 2019 - 3:38 pm
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Health officials today confirmed a seventh case of measles in Los Angeles County, but the patient is not believed to have caused an exposure risk at any public locations.

According to the county Department of Public Health, the latest case is linked to four others that were documented last month, but it is not connected to exposures that occurred at UCLA and Cal State Los Angeles and prompted quarantines.

No other details were released.

Health officials said they have now identified seven measles cases involving Los Angeles County residents this year, along with five non-resident cases involving patients who traveled through the county. Of the seven local cases, two involved people who traveled internationally, and "the majority" of the patients were not vaccinated.

Orange County officials this week confirmed that county's first measles case of the year -- a Placentia woman who may have exposed hundreds of people while attending an overnight screening of "Avengers: Endgame" at an AMC theater complex in Fullerton on April 25-26.

Measles was declared eradicated in 2000, but misinformation about the risk of vaccines has led to a lower vaccine rate that has allowed the disease to spread, according to public health officials.
OC Health officials are worried that a lot of people may have been exposed to the measles after a young woman, who was infected, went to opening weekend for the Avengers in Fullerton.

There are a lot of potential contacts since the young woman who had the measles worked in a big Santa Ana office complex, went to a movie at the AMC theater in Fullerton last Thursday night and then ended up in St Jude’s Emergency room on Saturday morning.  

Dr. Nicole Quick is the interim health officer for Orange County and she tells KNX they will be trying to find and track the people who came in contact with the young woman… the ones most at risk for developing the measles. She says the most important thing people can do is get vaccinated against measles

The Orange County Health Care Agency this week announced the county's first case of measles this year.

A Placentia woman in her 20s told officials she had been traveling internationally recently to one of many countries struggling with widespread measles outbreaks. She is considered infectious between April 23 and through tomorrow.

The woman, whose name was not released, voluntarily quarantined herself at home, according to the HCA.

The woman visited multiple places locally, so officials are concerned others may have contracted the highly infectious illness.

Residents with questions about the measles are encouraged to call the HCA's health referral line at 800-564-8448.

Potential locations and times in which the public may have been exposed to the measles, according to the HCA are:
5 Hutton Centre Drive, Santa Ana, April 23-25 from 7:45 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. daily;
St. Jude Emergency Department, 101 E. Valencia Mesa Drive, Fullerton, April 27, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.; and
AMC movie theater, 1001 S. Lemon St., Fullerton, April 25 from 11 p.m. through April 26 at 4 a.m.

Anyone who visited any of those locations during those times should review their vaccination history. Those who have not had measles or the preventive vaccine are at higher risk after an exposure, and should talk with a health care provider about receiving a Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination.

LA COUNTY

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is investigating a sixth confirmed case of measles this year -- the LA County resident was infected while traveling abroad.

This sixth case is not related to any of the measles cases announced earlier this year. 

The Department of Public Health is urging residents, especially those who travel internationally and those who have not been fully immunized against measles, to get the measles immunization.

Persons who may have been on-site at the date and time for any of the below locations may be at risk of developing measles for up to 21 days after being exposed.

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

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Tom Bradley International Terminal, on April 23, 2019 between 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Fox Auto Parks LAX Shuttle on April 23, 2019 between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Home Depot, 44226 20th St W, Lancaster, CA 93534, on April 26, 2019 between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

“With widespread outbreaks of measles happening in the United States and internationally, and local cases transmitted within Los Angeles County, this case is a reminder that there is an increased risk of the measles at this time. It is important if you or someone you know has symptoms of measles or has been exposed to measles to contact your healthcare provider by phone right away before going in,” 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.”

LA COUNTY and NATIONWIDE

Meanwhile, the number of measles cases in the US has now topped 700. 

That's the highest number since 1994 when 963 cases were reported. 

Three-quarters of those who caught the contagious disease are children or teenagers.  No deaths have been reported, but 66 patients have been hospitalized.

The national measles outbreak is impacting California, specifically LA County.

As of last week, the quarantine orders were in place for 550 students and 106 staff members at Cal State L.A. At UCLA the number of quarantined students had dropped to 51, with only one student who lives on campus still under the quarantine orders, according to a statement from UCLA.

People exposed at UCLA could be quarantined until April 30 and those at Cal State L.A. until May 2.

Meantime only about a 100 people still are under quarantine orders at two LA Universities. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer told county supervisors they'll be in the clear soon.

Dr. Muntu Davis, the LA County Health Officer says one of the deciding factors is information about at-risk individuals vaccination status, which is being updated.

"That has been a dynamic process in terms of us getting lab confirmation or students showing up with their documentation of immunization," he said.

In the hopes of halting the spread of the disease, L.A. County's 14 public health clinics will offer free vaccines for uninsured and underinsured people. 

Click here for the list of the 14 clinics offering free vaccines. 

State public health officials say there have been nearly 40 cases this year. That's almost four times as much as this time last year. 

State Public Health Officer, Doctor Karen Smith, says six of the cases are in Los Angeles County.

"Patients range in age from 5 months to 55 years of age. There have been no fatalities. of the cases for whom we have vaccine status information, the great majority, over 76 percent, were either not vaccinated or under-vaccinated," she said.

She says people who traveled outside of the country brought the measles in then it was spread.

Smith says measles cases are up around the world due to many factors but does say the anti-vaccination movement is contributing.

There have been nearly 700 measles cases across the country this year, which is the highest in 25 years.

Some LAX workers could have been exposed too, there were five local cases linked to international travel.

Public health director Barbara Ferrer says "there are outbreaks in so many countries around the world. There is an outbreak in northern California. We have measles everywhere."

Given the recent widespread outbreaks both locally and globally, Los Angeles residents are being urged to get measles immunization to protect themselves and divert the spread.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Sacramento began the process of closing a loophole in the rules on medical exemptions for vaccinations. California already has one of the toughest immunization laws in the country, but Senator Richard Pan, who authored the bill, says more needs to be done.

"We cannot allow a small number of unethical physicians to put our children back at risk. I am grateful for the moral courage of the medical community which is calling for an end to these fake medical exemptions and for actions against physicians who have endangered patients and betray the profession," he said.

The legislation would require that medical exemptions are based on narrow guidelines from the CDC and they would be tracked in a statewide database. Up to a thousand opponents of the bill are expected to demonstrate outside the Capitol.  They call the bill overreaching.
 
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 another 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 are 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 the second dose in four 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 the 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.

-KNX 1070 and CNS