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UPDATE: Measles Cases Nationwide Reach More than 800

May 13, 2019 - 1:18 pm
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There are new numbers from the CDC when it comes to measles cases nationwide.

There are a total of 839 cases, which is the country's highest number of measles cases since 1994 when 963 people were diagnosed.

Twenty three states have reported cases of measles but most have been in New York, especially in orthodox Jewish communities.

Measles was actually eliminated in the United States two decades ago, but is making a comeback.

There is some good news.

Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, LA County's chief medical officer, tells KNX there remains 10 total cases in the Los Angeles County area and 44 state wide.

There are still some folks who were exposed who are being monitored, but not nearly as many as before.

"Since then we have identified nearly 1,000 other people who were exposed and almost all of them either presented documentation they were immune because they were vaccinated or they had a blood test. So the numbers we are observing are much smaller than that, well under 100," Gunzenhauser said.

Gunzenhauser says we still don't have a handle on the situation yet because an outbreak could occur at any time but it's pretty remarkable the largest county in the country has only 10 confirmed cases of measles.

It was reported last week the Los Angeles area is highly vulnerable to new outbreaks of the measles.

According to new research, we're listed as number two in the nation for the risk of fresh cases, just behind the Chicago area.

Johns Hopkins professor Lauren Gardner tells KNX it's because this region sees so many international travelers from places like the Philippines and Ukraine where there have been major measles outbreaks:

"So you definitely will expect more imported cases, I think that will almost surely going to happen and in terms of them turning into outbreaks, it depends on how well those local populations is managed and how early those imported cases are identified and those people are removed from being risks," Gardner said.

She says that the good news is that California has much higher vaccination rates than other parts of the country.

Earlier this week, officials were investigating another confirmed case of measles in a Los Angeles County resident and an additional non-resident measles case who traveled throughout Southern California, part of a renewed outbreak of the disease nationally and across the Southland.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that 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:
   -- 4/27:
   Peet's Coffee, 175 S. Fairfax Ave., Unit D, 9 a.m.-noon
   -- 4/27:
   Fratelli's Cafe, 7200 Melrose Ave., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
   -- 4/27:
   ART Restaurant (located in Farmer's Daughter Hotel), 115 S Fairfax Ave., 5-8 p.m.
   -- 4/27:
   The Grove, 189 The Grove Dr., 2-5:30 p.m.
   -- 4/27:
   J.Crew and Barnes and Noble (The Grove), 189 The Grove Dr., 3:30-5:30 p.m.
   -- 4/27:
   Los Angeles Farmer's Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., 3:30-5:30 p.m.
   -- 4/27:
   Paper Source, 175 S Fairfax Ave. 4-6 p.m.
   -- 4/27:
   Whole Foods, 6350 W. 3rd St., 8-11 p.m.
   -- 4/27-28:
   Farmer's Daughter Hotel, 115 S. Fairfax Ave., all day on 4-27 through 10 a.m. on 4-28
   -- 4/30/19:
   LAX International Terminal 2, 7:45-11:45 p.m.
   -- 4/30 and 5/1:
   LAX Employee Shuttle, 7:30-9:30 p.m. on 4/30 and 9:30-11:30 a.m. on 5/1
   --5/1:
   LAX Terminal 2, 7:10-9:30 a.m.

The announcements Saturday came hours after Long Beach health officials announced the first confirmed case of measles in a city resident since 2015 -- an adult graduate student who attends UC Irvine and is recovering at home, according to the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.

Orange County officials also reported their second case of 2019 on Saturday -- an infant who was too young to be vaccinated and remains hospitalized.

In the Long Beach case, officials said they are "working with the neighboring health jurisdictions of Orange County and Los Angeles County to identify and notify residents of locations the infected individual visited while contagious. Health Department staff are notifying locations in Long Beach the person visited while contagious."

Individuals who visited the following Long Beach locations at the times stated below might have been exposed to measles:
   -- 4/28:
   Pizzanista, 1837 E 7th St., 5:30-7 p.m.
   -- 4/28:
   Total Wine, 7400 Carson Blvd., 6-7:30 p.m.
   -- 4/30:
   Susan European Dressmaker, 3319 E 7th St., 5-7 p.m.
   -- 5/1:
   Art du Vin Wine Bar, 2027 E 4th St., 8-10 p.m.
   -- 5/1:
   Ralph's, 2930 E 4th St., 2-5 p.m.
   -- 5/2:
   Ralph's, 6290 PCH, 3-6:30 p.m.
   -- 5/2:
   AMC Marina Pacifica, 6346 E PCH, 6-10 p.m.
   --5/3:
   Broadway Carwash 4000 E Broadway, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
   And Orange County residents may have been exposed to measles at these locations on the following dates and times:
   -- Mon., April 29 - UCI Humanities Instructional Building 100, 10 a.m.- noon
   -- Mon., April 29 - UCI Krieger Hall, Classic Dept. 4th Floor, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.
   -- Tues., April 30 - UCI Humanities Hall 112, 2-5 p.m.
   -- Thurs., May 2 - UCI Student Health Center, 1-3 p.m.
   -- Friday, May 3 - The Pickled Monk, Fullerton, 1:45-3:30 p.m.
   -- Friday, May 3 - Brick Basement Antiques, Fullerton, 2:40-4 p.m.
   -- Friday, May 3 - Buffalo Exchange, Fullerton, 3-4:15 p.m.
   -- Friday, May 3 - 8Eightyeight Cigar, Fullerton, 3:15-5 p.m.
   L.A. County exposures can be found at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov; Orange County exposures can be found at www.ochealthinfo.com/measles.
   Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough and red, watery eyes. Measles spreads very easily by air and by direct contact with an infected person. People who become infected are contagious before they have symptoms and know they are infected.
   Health officials also say to self-monitor for illness with fever and/or an unexplained rash from 7 days to 21 days after exposure. If symptoms develop, stay at home and call a health care provider immediately.
   "The best way to protect yourself from measles is to get vaccinated. All children and non-immune adults should be vaccinated against measles," Long Beach Health Officer Anissa Davis said. "If you are unsure of your vaccination status, contact your provider to make sure you are up-to-date."

Health officials today confirmed the 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