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Of 58 measles cases in CA, 19 were intentionally unvaccinated

The California Department of Public Health reported two new cases of measles this week. The new cases, in Alameda and Monterey counties, increase the state’s total to 58 this year.

There were four cases in the state at this point last year.

Of the 58 cases, 13 were imported from countries where measles is more common, according to state epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez.

  • 8 cases were acquired in the Philippines, where there’s a large outbreak.
  • 2 cases were acquired in India, where measles is endemic.
  • 1 case each was also acquired in Vietnam, Singapore, and Western Europe.

Measles was declared eradicated from the United States in 2002.  Since then, most cases of the highly contagious viral disease have been linked to international travel, according to the state health department.
FAQ: How you can still get measles even after being vaccinated

Cases acquired abroad can spread locally, especially among unvaccinated people and infants too young to be vaccinated, according to the state health department. Chavez said that of the 58 cases so far this year:

  • 25 people were unvaccinated, and 19 of those were intentionally unvaccinated
  • 11 people were vaccinated
  • 4 people had laboratory evidence of immunity
  • 18 people had an unknown vaccination status

The new case reported in Alameda County is connected to another case there that was acquired through domestic travel, according to county health department spokeswoman Sherri Willis.  The county has had four measles cases this year.
In Monterey County, where two cases have been reported, both are in people under age 18, and the cases are connected, said county health department spokeswoman Karen Smith.

Measles is spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. It begins with a fever that lasts a couple of days, and is followed by a cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, and a rash.

Do you remember life before the measles vaccine? Let us know. We may include your experience in a future story.