County health officials warn residents, travelers about measles

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego County health officials are sending out a warning about measles.

So far there have been no confirmed cases in the county, but a large population of travelers could be a risk because of outbreaks occurring in other countries.

Efren Licup said he recently got back from the Philippines and had no idea there has been an outbreak in his country.

“I’m worried about my friends. I have family out there,” Licup said. "We have a big organization here, a religious group. I'll start calling them to tell them about the outbreak."

Flyers are going up around San Diego County warning people that measles are widespread in places like Europe, Africa, Asia, India and the Philippines. Doctors know there is a large Filipino population in San Diego.

Flyers are going up around San Diego County warning people that measles are widespread in places like Europe, Africa, Asia, India and the Philippines. Doctors know that in the county there is a large Filipino population.

“I think for San Diegans the most likely place that individuals will travel overseas where there’s a large outbreak is the Philippines,” said Dr. Eric McDonald with the Health and Human Services Agency.

Since January 1, McDonald said there have been nearly 23,000 measles cases and more than 330 deaths in the Philippines.

“We haven’t had any cases in San Diego County, but there have been 16 cases across the State of California and all of them were initially individuals that traveled overseas and then came to California,” McDonald said.

McDonald said that, in turn, exposed others in the state. He calls measles the most contagious human disease that we know of.

“If one person had the measles and they were in a room full of people who were not immunized, you would expect 16 to 17 other people to come down with measles,” he said.

Symptoms include a fever, cough, pink eye, a rash and white spots in the mouth. 

Doctors say the best way to avoid getting measles is to get what is called the MMR vaccine.

The CDC reports currently in the United States here are nearly 400 cases of measles. That is already more than last year's count.

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