SAN DIEGO -- A case of measles has been confirmed in a San Diego County resident who traveled out of the country and may have exposed others at two North County medical facilities, the Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday.
One of those locations is the Scripps Coastal Medical Center Urgent Care in the 100 block of Cedar Road in Vista, where exposures may have occurred on March 8 from 7:30 p.m. to midnight and March 9 from 4 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
The other potential exposures occurred at the Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas emergency room and radiology department in the 300 block of Santa Fe Drive between March 9 at 6 p.m. and March 10 at 8 a.m., and the second floor in- patient hospital ward on March 10 from 5:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m., according to the HHSA.
The health department is contacting people who were known to be at those locations during the exposure periods to determine if they have been vaccinated and their potential for developing measles. The county agency is also working with Scripps to identify and follow up with patients and staff who may have been exposed.
"Measles is a very contagious disease that can be spread easily by coughing, sneezing or being in the same room with an infected person," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's deputy public health officer.
"Anyone who was at any of these specific locations at these times should watch for symptoms and contact their health care provider, by telephone first, if they show any signs of the disease," she said.
People with symptoms are asked to phone their doctor's office in advance, rather than visit an office directly, so that infection control measures may be implemented to prevent exposure to others. Measles develops seven to 21 days after exposure.
Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. The distinctive red rash usually appears one to four days after early symptoms appear.
A person is considered contagious four days before the rash appears. The rash typically begins on the face and head, then proceeds downward and outward to the hands and feet, according to health officials. It fades in the same order it began, from head to feet.
"The best way to prevent measles is by getting the measles vaccine," Wooten said. "Infants under 12 months of age are at high risk of infection with measles because they would not have received their first dose of vaccine yet."
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, according to health officials.
Information about measles, other vaccine-preventable diseases and the shots that protect against them is available by calling the HHSA Immunization Branch at 866-358-2966 or on its website.