April 18, 2019 – There are no current reports of confirmed measles in Nevada County. However, there have been recent cases in Butte, Placer and some Bay Area counties. Measles was actually eliminated from the United States almost 20 years ago, but measles is just a plane ride away and keeps landing back in the country. Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles. Two doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine are recommended. The first dose of MMR is given at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second doses usually at 4-6 years of age. Once measles gets in the community, it takes intense effort to stop it. Each infected person can expose dozens to hundreds of others. The state of Washington is spending thousands of dollars per case responding to their measles outbreak. Washington has more than 70 confirmed cases with most being unvaccinated. New York City has had over 200 cases of measles so far in 2019 and city officials there recently declared a public health emergency.
It takes high levels of vaccination in the community to keep measles from spreading. Nevada County is at particular risk for an outbreak because of our low vaccination rates, and we have the highest rate of medical exemptions for school vaccinations in California. If measles occurs in a school, those without evidence of immunity or vaccination will be excluded from attending the school.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through the air when a person sick with it coughs or sneezes. Symptoms begin with cough, runny nose, and/or red, watery eyes. These symptoms are followed by a high fever and a red rash that typically starts on the face along the hairline or behind the ears and moves down the body. A person is infectious to others from four days before the rash starts through four days after the rash appears. If someone believes they have measles, they are urged to call their doctor and not go out in public. It is recommended to call the doctor’s office before going in so arrangements can be made to have a safe examination without exposing others.
Especially with spring break, people traveling internationally should be sure they are vaccinated against measles or that they are immune to it. MMR vaccine can be obtained through your regular medical provider or local clinic.
For the Nevada County Public Health Department immunization clinics: https://www.mynevadacounty.com/619/Immunization-Clinic-Schedule-Grass-Valle
For general information about measles, please see: https://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/index.html