Calaveras Public Health Officer, Dr. Dean Kelaita, Tuesday announced that Public Health Services is investigating a child diagnosed with measles traveling through Calaveras County to ensure no local residents were infected. The unvaccinated child resides in Nevada County and developed measles after returning to California from traveling overseas. The child has fully recovered but many people have been exposed, including residents of Amador and Calaveras counties.
“The people exposed to the child with measles have tested negative for the disease. At this time no Calaveras county residents have contracted measles” said Dr. Kelaita. “It is very concerning to receive a report of a child with measles traveling through our community because we have seen a decrease in the numbers of children protected with vaccinations in Calaveras”.
Measles is a highly contagious, viral disease that is spread through the air when a person sick with the disease coughs or sneezes. Symptoms begin with fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. These symptoms are followed by a rash that typically appears on the face along the hairline or behind the ears and spreads to the rest of the body. An individual is infectious from four days before the rash starts through four days after the rash appears.
Complications of measles can include diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia. Severe complications can be fatal. Infants, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system are more at risk for complications from measles.
Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine are recommended for school-aged children. The first dose of MMR vaccine is given at 12 to 15 months of age. The second dose of MMR vaccine is usually given at four to six years of age. Anyone traveling internationally outside the United States should ensure they have received full measles vaccination. Two doses of MMR vaccine are approximately 97 percent effective at preventing measles infection.
“Measles is a completely preventable disease”, said Dr. Kelaita, “Parents should check their children’s shot records and ensure they are fully protected against measles.”