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Measles cases continue to be reported and confirmed in San Diego County. The cases were first reported in January and are linked to an outbreak at Disneyland. Only one of the local cases was vaccinated for measles. 

Video: County Public Health Officer Urges Childhood Measles Vaccination

According to the California Department of Public Health, the measles outbreak started in December 2014 when at least 40 people who visited or worked at Disneyland contracted measles. Cases have spread to at least six other states. (Current measles case information is available at CDPH's measles information page; the information is updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.)

(Healthcare Providers: See the Measles/Not Measles Diagnostic Tool from Northern California Kaiser Permanente for helpful diagnostic information.)

Measles Facts

Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. It is so contagious that any child who is exposed to it and is not immune will probably get the disease..

Measles develops seven to 21 days after exposure. Early symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes. The distinctive red rash usually appears three to five days after early symptoms appear. A person is considered contagious four days before the rash appears. The rash begins on the face and head then proceeds downward and outward to the hands and feet. It fades in the same order it began, from head to feet.

All persons born in 1957 or after should have documentation of at least one dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine or other evidence of immunity to measles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of the vaccine: the first at 12 months of age, and the second between ages 4 - 6.

Complications from measles are more common in children younger than 5 years old and adults 20 years and older. Complications can include diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia. Death can occur from severe complications and the risk is higher among younger children and adults. There is no treatment for measles. Bed rest, fluids and fever control are recommended. People with complications may need treatment for their specific problem.

(Photo courtesy CDC/ Cynthia S. Goldsmith; William Bellini, Ph.D.)

Information for the Public

County of San Diego

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

California Department of Public Health (CDPH)

Information for Healthcare Workers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

California Department of Public Health (CDPH)

San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA)

Northern California Kaiser Permanente

For more information, contact the Immunization Program at 866-358-2966 or send us an e-mail.