SAN DIEGO — The first case of measles this year in San Diego County has been confirmed in an 11-month-old child who recently traveled to the Philippines and may have exposed others to the disease at two Kaiser Permanente medical facilities in recent days, the county’s Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday.
According to the HHSA, the unimmunized infant is now hospitalized.
Prior to being hospitalized, the child was brought to the Kaiser Permanente Otay Mesa Medical Offices at 4650 Palm Ave., on July 29 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Pediatric Clinic; on Aug. 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Pediatric Clinic, Urgent Care and Pharmacy; and on Aug. 5 from 4:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Pediatric Clinic.
The child, who was not publicly identified, was in the Emergency Department at Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center, 9455 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., on Aug. 5 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The HHSA is working with Kaiser Permanente to identify and follow up with patients and staff who may have been exposed at those locations to determine if they have been vaccinated and their potential for developing measles.
“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 J. Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “Anyone who was at any of these specific locations at the dates and times listed above should watch for symptoms and call their health care provider if they show any signs of the disease.”
People with symptoms are asked to telephone their doctor’s office in advance, rather than visit an office directly, so that infection control measures can be activated 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. It fades in the same order it began, from head to feet.
There is no treatment for measles. Bed rest, fluids and fever control are recommended.
“The best way to prevent measles is by getting the measles vaccine,” Wooten said. “With measles outbreaks occurring in several countries, including the Philippines, it is very important that all international travelers get vaccinated. Infants between 6 and 12 months of age who travel should get one dose, and travelers over 12 months of age should get two doses at least four weeks apart.”
Complications from measles, which can include diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia, are more common in children younger than 5 and adults 20 years and older, according to the HHSA. Death can occur from severe complications and the risk is higher among younger children and adults.
For more information about measles, other vaccine-preventable diseases and the shots that protect against them, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at 866-358-2966 or visit the website at www.sdiz.org.