An adult resident of San Luis Obispo County has the measles, according to the county Public Health Department.
The adult, who is not vaccinated, had contact with international travelers over the holidays, the department said Tuesday. The person started showing signs of measles Jan. 3 and visited the emergency room of Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton on Jan. 8 and 9.
The hospital is verifying whether exposed staff members have been vaccinated against the virus, the health department said. Additionally, the hospital is contacting exposed patients and visitors. The measles patient is cooperating with the health department’s investigation to determine whether anyone else was exposed to the virus.
The recent case of measles follows another case in Santa Barbara County and an outbreak of the virus in Los Angeles County, the health department said. It is not yet known if the cases are related.
People with measles are contagious for about nine days, the agency said. Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to the virus should watch for symptoms for up to 21 days after the exposure. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and a rash of tiny, red spots that start on the face and spread to the rest of the body.
Measles can be spread through the air by coughing or sneezing and can spread quickly in communities where people are not vaccinated, the health department said. The virus can be serious, especially for small children. Measles can lead to pneumonia, swelling of the brain and death.
Infants, pregnant women and people with health conditions that compromise their immune system are especially at risk for contracting the virus. Anyone who has had measles in the past or received a measles vaccine is considered immune.
The department asks anyone who thinks they may have measles to call their doctor before going to their office to prevent spreading the disease. They also ask people to call and report suspected measles cases at 805-781-5500. More information about measles can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/measles).