CDPH reports increase in measles prevalence

The California Department of Public Health recently announced that measles prevalence is more than seven times higher than last year, as it has already reported 15 confirmed cases so far this year across the state.

CDPH Director Ron Chapman said he attributes the increase in prevalence to international outbreaks of measles and expects to see the number of cases continue to increase.

"Immunization is the best defense against measles, with 99 percent of persons developing immunity after two doses," Chapman said.

Measles is a highly contagious airborne disease that usually causes fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes and rash in its victims. In severe cases, patients can experience diarrhea, pneumonia, ear infections and death. Infants, pregnant women and persons with compromised immune systems are most susceptible to severe infection.

Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, and since then California has reported between four and 40 cases each year. Five of the 15 cases reported were imported from India and the Philippines. The CDPH urges all Californians who have not received two full doses of the measles vaccine do so as soon as possible to prevent further spread of the disease.

"We want to do everything we can to prevent measles cases and we must do everything possible to limit the disease from spreading," Chapman said.