Long Beach Health Department Issues Measles Update

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Background: Histopathology of measles pneumonia. Giant cell with intracytoplasmic inclusions. Inset: A child with a classic day-4 rash with measles. Both images via wikimedia.

Measles is a very contagious but vaccine preventable disease caused by a virus.  Measles spreads through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. It is so contagious that a child who is exposed to it and is not immune will likely get the disease. A higher than usual number of measles cases have been reported in the state of California this year. To date, there are 15 confirmed cases of measles in the state, most of which are associated with foreign travel (especially to the Philippines and India). At this time, there are no confirmed cases in Long Beach.

Measles symptoms include a fever and rash, and may include conjunctivitis (pink eye), cough, runny nose, and white patches in the mouth (Koplik spots). Anyone with fever and rash should stay home and immediately contact their physician. Immunocompromised persons and pregnant women at risk for severe disease. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get their first measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine when they are 12 to 15 months old, which puts infants at particular risk of infection. The MMR vaccine is recommended prior to foreign travel.

For more information about measles, visit the CDC’s Measles homepage: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html

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