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Health Department announces measles outbreak


Last updated 2/14/2008 at Noon

The County of San Diego HHSA (Health and Human Services Agency) has announced a cluster outbreak of measles has occurred at a charter school within the region. The children affected did not have the measles vaccine.

This is the first local cluster of measles in children since 1991. There have been four isolated cases of measles in the county since 2003.

“This underscores the importance of vaccinating children for measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Wilma Wooten, MD, MPH, county public health officer. “We urge parents to make sure their children get the MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccine for their children, the first at 12 months of age and the second between ages four and six.”

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. The disease is easily spread by coughing, sneezing or close contact with an infected person.

Measles causes a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, usually lasting for one to two weeks. It can be spread from four days before the rash appears to four days afterwards.

The rash begins on the face and head then proceeds downward and outward to the hands and feet. It fades in the same order it began, from head to feet.

Complications from measles are more common in children younger than 5 years and adults 20 years and older. Complications can include diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia. Death can occur from severe complications and the risk is higher among younger children and adults.

There is no treatment for measles. Bed rest, fluids and control of fever are recommended. Persons with complications may need treatment for their specific problem.

The best way to prevent measles is by getting the measles vaccine. All persons born in 1957 or after should have documentation of at least one dose of MMR vaccine or other evidence of immunity to measles.

For more information about measles, other vaccine-preventable diseases and the shots that protect against them, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (619) 692-8661 or visit


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