8 cases of measles confirmed in 3 Bay Area counties

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ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Friday, January 23, 2015
8 cases of measles confirmed in Bay Area counties
The measles outbreak that started at Disneyland has now grown to 70 cases in six states, and eight of those are in the Bay Area.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- The measles outbreak that started at Disneyland has now grown to 70 cases in six states. On Thursday, county health officials confirmed that eight of those patients are here in the Bay Area. Five are in Alameda County, two in San Mateo County, and one in Santa Clara County. But not all the Bay Area cases can be traced back to Disneyland.

Local health officials say that regardless of where it started, measles is clearly in the Bay Area community. The Urgent Care Center in Berkeley has yet to see a case, but they say they are getting ready just in case one walks through the door.

"We have mobilized a lot of our health department to work on this," said Dr. Erica Pan with the Alameda County Department of Public Health.

She says the surge in measles cases in her county and statewide is definitely cause for concern.

"While it was a common childhood illness, 1 in 1,000 will die from the measles and 1 or 2 in 1,000 can get a brain infection called encephalitis," Dr. Pan said.

Alameda leads all Bay Area counties with five confirmed cases. Two of those had to be hospitalized and two were not immunized, by choice.

In Alameda County, as many as 40 health workers have been mobilized to track the measles outbreak and trace it back to its source. There's also an effort to reach out to any of those who've had contact with the five who actually came down with the disease.

At a free vaccine clinic in Oakland, patients can get the measles vaccine, which is usually combined with mumps and rubella.

"If they people have children who have never been vaccinated against measles- mumps-rubella, or new people to this country, we strongly recommend they call, or they can go online at our county health department," said Alameda County Public Health nurse Catherine Ratto.

In four of the five Alameda County cases, those who came down with the measles had traveled to Disneyland in December, or had contact with someone who had been there.

The situation has the attention of Senator Dianne Feinstein. She tweeted that she finds the outbreak troubling, and is encouraging parents to vaccinate their children.

Measles is very contagious. It starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, and perhaps fatigue.

As those symptoms start to go away, people get spots inside their mouth and then a rash all over.

It usually takes about 7 to 18 days to get symptoms after you have been around someone who has measles.

For full coverage on the measles outbreak, click here.

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