SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA – Since early March, there have been cases of measles in the Bay Area, including 5 confirmed cases in Santa Clara County as of April 4, 2018.
Although the general public is at very low risk of measles as a result of these cases, measles is an acute, highly contagious viral disease.“The best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is by immunization,” says Dr. Arnold Leff, Health Officer for Santa Cruz County. Two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine provide long-lasting protection against measles. Those who have previously been infected with measles are also protected from being infected with measles again. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get the first dose at 12–15 months of age, and the second dose at 4–6 years of age. Measles vaccination protects not just the person being vaccinated, but the community around them, including babies less than 12 months old who are too young to be vaccinated and cancer patients.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and a sore throat and is followed by a rash that spreads over the body. Call your healthcare provider if you think you or your child might have measles. It is important to call before going to the medical office so the office can take steps to prevent others from being exposed to measles.
Get vaccinated if you are not already vaccinated or are unsure of your vaccination status. There is also a blood test to check for immunity to measles.
MMR is available at many doctors’ offices and clinics and at some retail pharmacies. For persons without health insurance, vaccine is available at County Clinics. For a list of locations, visit http://www.santacruzhealth.org/HSAHome/HSADivisions/ClinicServices.aspx or call 831-454-4100.