Measles has now been confirmed in ten Orange County residents, in conjunction with the recent outbreak affecting California and more than 20 other states. The Orange County Health Care Agency reminds the public that the best way to prevent measles is by getting vaccinated.
Measles is an acute infection caused by the measles (rubeola) virus. The disease spreads very easily by air and by direct contact with an infected person. The illness usually begins about 8 to 12 days (but up to 21 days) after exposure with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. Complications of measles include pneumonia and, less commonly, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Anyone suspecting they have measles should call their health care provider immediately, and before going to the medical office to avoid exposing others to the virus. The Orange County Health Care Agency recommends the following guidelines to help protect you and your family from measles:
- Children should receive their first MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine at 12-15 months of age. The second dose of MMR is given at 4 to 6 years of age before going to school.
- Vaccinating children, adolescents and adults is the best way to protect infants who are too young to receive the MMR vaccine.
- Vaccinations are very safe. The benefits far outweigh any risks. Side effects are usually mild, such as soreness where the shot was given.
- Measles is found in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Vaccination before traveling is recommended.
Most people in the U.S. are considered immune to measles from previous measles infection or vaccination. Please contact your health care provider to review your measles vaccination history.