L.A. County Health Officials Investigating Sixth Case of Measles

Los Angeles County health officials say a sixth case of measles has been reported after an L.A. County resident traveled abroad. The new case is not related to earlier cases the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a new release. There have been five other non-resident cases who traveled through the county over the last four months, officials said.

The majority of victims were unvaccinated, health officials said.

The following locations were identified as places were people may have been exposed to measles:

  • LAX, Tom Bradley International Terminal, Gate 218 on April 23 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Fox Auto Parks LAX Shuttle on April 23 from 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Home Depot, 44226 20th St W, Lancaster, CA 93534, on April 26 from 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer cited recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in urging everyone to check their immunization status and said that certain groups of people should take action quickly, including:

  • international travelers;
  • workers in health care facilities, elder care facilities or schools for students of any age; and
  • students of any age.

The county is offering free immunizations at clinics countywide to anyone without insurance or who is under-insured.

Health officials reminded the public that measles can be deadly in some cases and can also cause brain swelling, deafness and pneumonia.

“Your risk of getting encephalitis or swelling of the brain is so much higher if you get measles, I mean there's no comparison, than your risk of having a bad affect from the vaccine,” Ferrer said, urging parents to talk directly to health care providers to avoid misinformation.

Measles has made something of a comeback across the United States this year as more Americans travel to countries where the disease is more prevalent and people refuse to get vaccinated. So far in 2019, the Centers for Disease Control says there has been 704 individual cases of measles confirmed in 22 states - the largest outbreak since measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000.

Depending on what year you were born, health officials say you may need to get a second shot. Those born between 1957 and 1989 only received one dose of the MMR vaccine, which may not be enough to fully protect them during an outbreak.Two doses is believed to offer 97 percent protection against measles.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread through person-to-person contact and through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, red eyes and a sore throat. A rash will also spread across the body.

Photo: Kris Ankarlo

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