Four of 11 confirmed cases of measles in San Diego have been reported at Children’s Clinic La Jolla at 5726 La Jolla Blvd.
“We have 11 confirmed and three pending cases,” said Jose Alvarez, spokesman for County Health and Human Services Agency.
“They are doing well,” said Gretchen Gainor, pediatrician at Children’s Clinic, about the four measles cases there. “Several exposed children in the community have been quarantined at home.”
All of the reported cases countywide involve children.
The measles outbreak has been traced to a 7-year-old who returned to the San Diego area from Switzerland on Jan. 15. “The first two cases were two of his siblings,” said Alvarez. “One was a schoolmate.”
Alvarez said all of the people who’ve subsequently been exposed to measles have been sequestered. “About 60 people are on home quarantine,” he said. “Usually that lasts for about 21 days.”
Measles, also known as rubeola, is a disease caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Measles is spread through respiration and is highly contagious - 90 percent of people without immunity sharing a house with an infected person will catch it. The incubation period usually lasts for four–12 days (during which there are no symptoms). Infected people remain contagious from the appearance of the first symptoms until three–five days after the rash appears.
Gainor added it’s uncertain just how long this measles outbreak will last.
“There is no way to say this is going to be over in the next couple of weeks,” she said. “Measles is highly contageous. If a child sneezes or coughs in the vicinity of a child not immunized, that is a potential exposure to that child. The best way to help to control this outbreak is for parents to immunize children. We’re really trying to get the word out for people to get their kids vaccinated.”
The best way to prevent measles is by getting the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Children should receive the first dose at 12 months of age and a second dose between ages 4-6.
For more information about measles, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (619) 692-8661 or visit www.sdiz.org.