Rubeola measles, a highly contagious viral disease, has been confirmed in a resident who returned to San Luis Obispo County after a trip abroad.
But the county believes that he hasn’t exposed the disease to anyone else because he went directly to the hospital after arriving home.
“The patient had returned from France, where measles cases have been occurring at epidemic levels for the past two years,” according to Ann McDowell, an epidemiologist for the county.
Rubeola is a more serious variation of the virus than German or rubella measles, said officials from the San Luis Obispo County Department of Health.
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Fourteen cases have been diagnosed in California this year.
Symptoms include “a rash that can range from pink to red blotches, which can merge into large areas of the skin,” as well as fever, cough, runny nose, red or swollen watery eyes, and white spots in the mouth.
McDowell described measles as “a moderate to serious illness, with intense malaise and feelings of discomfort.”
She said those who develop a rash with fever should contact their medical provider immediately. However, she added, they should notify medical providers before going to the clinic or doctor’s office, so that providers can take precautions to avoid spreading the disease.
People born before 1957 are generally immune, she wrote in a news release, as are those born after 1957 who received two doses of vaccine. Those who received only one dose are at higher risk, she wrote.
Generally, people still get vaccinated for the measles, said county health department nurse Janet Botta. The threat is to people who have not been vaccinated, she said.
McDowell advised people planning trips abroad to learn what immunizations are recommended for the areas where they intend to travel. Measles has “increased dramatically” in Asia, Africa and Europe, she noted.
For more information, call the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department at 781-5500 or go to www.cdc.gov/measles/.