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Seven Cases Of Measles Reported In L.A. County's First Measles Outbreak Since 2015

A college student gets the MMR vaccine. (Photo by Mark Kegans/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles County Department of Health officials announced on Thursday that they are investigating seven cases of measles. This is the first outbreak of measles in the county since 2015, health officials told LAist, when almost 150 people were infected from an outbreak that started at Disneyland."Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that spreads from person to person through coughing or sneezing," Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County said in a statement. "To protect individual health and to prevent the spread of measles to others, we urge residents who are not immunized to get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine as soon as possible. Two doses of MMR vaccine is highly effective in preventing measles and is the best way to protect against disease."

Officials told LAist that a preliminary investigation shows that none of the infected individuals were vaccinated, and that seven cases were "epidemiologically linked." The location of the infected individuals was not revealed, but it would exclude Long Beach and Pasadena because any cases there would be reported by their own municipal health departments.

Measles is an highly contagious disease that can be spread through coughing and sneezing. "Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected," writes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After infection, it can take up to 21 days for anyone to show symptoms. These include fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Three to five days after initial symptoms, patients develop a rash that eventually covers the whole body. Out of every 1,000 children that becomes infected with measles, one or two will die from it, according to the CDC.

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County health officials are recommending that people should check with their doctor of their vaccination status if they are unsure, and to get vaccinated if they haven't already. Anyone who thinks they are infected should call their doctor first before going to the office in order to prevent further transmission.