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Bay Area health officials urge vaccination amid measles rise


SANTA CRUZ — Santa Cruz County public health leaders have joined 12 neighboring jurisdictions in urging measles vaccination amid an uptick in cases at state and national levels.

The Association of Bay Area Health Officials, which includes representatives from Santa Cruz, wrote in a recent release that the best protection against measles is two doses of the measles-mumpus-rubella vaccine, which provides protection for life. Local officials urged the public to get the shot and to watch for symptoms after exposure or travel.

“The best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is by getting vaccinated,” said Santa Cruz County Health Officer Lisa Hernandez in the release, shared through Santa Cruz County’s Public Health Division.

According to the release, distributed last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had documented 64 cases of measles within 17 jurisdictions across the country in 2024, with 90% of the cases linked to international travel. By Tuesday, those figures had been updated on the CDC’s website to 97 cases across 18 jurisdictions as of March 28.

The California Department of Public Health had confirmed five measles cases in the state as of March 20. County public health spokesperson Corinne Hyland told the Sentinel Tuesday that there are currently no cases in Santa Cruz County.

According to the Bay Area health officials’ release, most cases in the United States have been among children age 12 months and older who had not received the measles vaccine. Cases have been circulating in many regions across the globe that are hubs for tourism and business.

Given the Bay Area’s three major airports and status as a popular international travel destination, the officials wrote, the region is at increased risk of exposure. Risk of an infection becomes heightened for individuals or families that plan to travel internationally who are also not vaccinated.

Information about international locations experiencing an outbreak is available on the CDC’s website at cdc.gov and the officials have encouraged travelers to plan early for international journeys. Parents should consult with their child’s health care provider prior to travel, the officials wrote.

Measles symptoms include a fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis also known as “pink eye,” followed two to four days later by a rash. The virus is transmitted through direct contact with infectious droplets or through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. The droplets can linger in indoor air for several hours, according to the release.

Those returning to the U.S. from international travel should monitor for symptoms for at least three weeks.

According to the CDC, about one in five persons infected with measles require hospitalization and almost one in three of every 1,000 infected children die from respiratory and neurologic complications. The risk of a measles infection is greatest among children 5 years old and younger, adults older than age 20, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

However, the officials wrote, vaccination remains highly effective and is recommended for children 12 to 15 months old with a second dose administered sometime from age …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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