A fourth case of measles has been confirmed in Orange County over the past couple of months, officials said today.
In the latest confirmed case, the afflicted visited four places in five trips in Anaheim and Stanton. The disease is extremely contagious and can be spread through the air.
“What's unique about this case is they were in such public settings and everyone they came in contact has been identified,” said Nicole Stanfield of the Orange County Health Care Agency.
No one else who came in contact with the person with measles has been infected, Stanfield said.
The rash of measles is rare because the county usually only sees about one or no cases annually, Stanfield said.
The person with measles went to Del Taco, 7001 Katella Ave., Stanton from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Feb. 10 and 4 to 9 p.m. Feb. 13.
Then the afflicted also went to the Pueblo Medical Center, 8045 Cerritos Ave., Stanton, from 2 to 4 p.m., Feb. 11, Western High School in Anaheim on Feb. 13, and West Anaheim Medical Center, 3033 W. Orange Ave., Anaheim, from 8 to 11 a.m., Feb. 14.
Symptoms usually start 10 to 12 days after exposure, but sometimes up to three weeks, with a fever as high as 105 degrees, malaise, cough, runny nose and 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.
In the other three local cases, the patients went to area health care providers. More than 150 patients and their family and friends faced potential exposure and required their own evaluations.
Many had to undergo testing and receive vaccination.
Physicians were recently advised by the agency that any patients with measles symptoms should be isolated and given a surgical mask. Only healthcare workers who have immunity to the disease should care for the patients, according to the county.
Dr. Matt Zahn, the agency's medical director for epidemiology, said “multiple cases that have been identified in California have occurred after international travel. This has been an issue for years.”
Measles is unusual in the U.S., 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 of 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 99 percent of the time, Zahn said.
--City News Service