Measles resurgence sparks concern as outbreaks spread across the US, including California

Estimated read time 3 min read

A disease once considered eliminated in the U.S. is showing up in various pockets of the U.S., including in California. While measles is not generally feared, doctors say these new outbreaks are a big deal.

Mom groups are all abuzz about measles making a comeback.

“It should not be going around. It shouldn’t exist. The fact that it’s now popping up everywhere and people are getting, it’s terrifying,” said Megan Davis, concerned mother of two.

Megan Davis just got her o1-year-old Hudson vaccinated against measles – a relief considering health officials are reporting 41 cases of measles in 16 states, including California.

“Measles is extremely serious,” said Dr. Priya Soni, an infectious disease specialist at Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s.

She said worldwide measles cases grew nearly 80% last year. In 2022, the disease killed more than 130,000 people, most of them children.

“It’s horrible for children in the sense that it will lead to an increase in hospitalization, pneumonias and something called encephalitis,” she said.

Measles is so contagious that if you get it, up to 90% of the people exposed to you will also get it if they aren’t immune.

So if one person gets it, nine out of 10 unprotected people will become infected.

“It can remain airborne in the air for up to 2 hours after an infected person has left that particular area,” said Soni.

She said we’re seeing so many outbreaks because many parents are choosing medical exemptions for vaccines, and many kids missed “well child visits” and didn’t get shots because of the pandemic.

“So that’s led to over 61 million missed doses of routine vaccinations,” she said.

The first measles, mumps and rubella shot is given at around 12 months. If you’re traveling with an infant to areas with known measles spread, Soni said talk to your child’s pediatrician.

“There may be an opportunity here to protect your child in that 6-month to 12-month period, as long as they’re above 6 months,” Soni said.

Megan keeps both her sons’ vaccines up to date – not just for them but for everyone around them.

“It’s all about public health. It’s for the greater good. You’re doing it for the masses and for the community and for the world so that it can be eradicated and nobody will get it, ” Davis said.

Measles can be contagious for up to 21 days after infection. So doctors say stay home if you do get infected.

Copyright © 2024 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.