San Diego/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on May 15, 2024
Measles Alert in El Cajon, Third Case Confirmed as Officials Scramble to Prevent OutbreakSource: County of San Diego

Public health officials say a third case of measles was confirmed in the County this year, striking a 13-month-old who had recently returned from overseas. Following two previous instances reported earlier, this latest occurrence marks a growing concern since no cases have emerged since 2019. Health authorities have now pinpointed potential exposure zones, raising alarms for those who visited these areas during specified times.

County health chiefs said the toddler in question possibly exposed others while visiting the Children's Primary Care Medical Group El Cajon on May 12 and Rady Children's Emergency Department on May 13. As the risk of further spread looms, epidemiologists are scrambling to reach out to those who could have been exposed to check vaccination statuses and stave off a wider outbreak, County News Center reported.

Measles, a highly contagious virus, can be easily transmitted through coughs, sneezes, or proximity to an infected individual. "Measles is a very contagious disease that can be spread easily by coughing, sneezing or being in the same room with an infected person," Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer, explained. Those who might have been at the aforementioned places when the infant was present should monitor for signs of infection and contact their healthcare providers if they become symptomatic.

With the disease's incubation period ranging from seven to 21 days, initial symptoms can mask themselves as a benign fever, cough, or cold. Those affected are most infectious in the days surrounding the emergence of the disease's telltale rash, which gradually spreads across the body. According to healthcare officials, prevention chiefly hinges on vaccination. "The best way to prevent measles is by getting the measles vaccine," Dr. Wooten stated. She further emphasized the importance of vaccination for international travelers, particularly in light of ongoing outbreaks in various parts of the globe.

While measles often conveys the false veneer of a harmless childhood illness, its potential for serious complications, especially among young children and adults, cannot be overstated. These include, but are not limited to, severe and potentially fatal cases of pneumonia, ear infections, and diarrhea, for which only supportive treatments are available. Public health departments are urging community members to review their immunization status and seek immediate medical advice.