Getting vaccinated can help stop measles from spreading
Stanislaus County health officials said people attending two basketball games at Turlock High School last week were possibly exposed to measles.
A person who was “infectious for measles” attended the Central Valley Senior Showcase on March 21, according to a county news release Thursday.
Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, public health officer for the county, said Thursday that the woman infected with measles didn’t feel sick while attending the games but came down with a rash and other symptoms four days later. She was then diagnosed with measles.
“Anyone who was there could have been exposed to it, so we are trying to warn the community about that,” said Amy Vickery, a county public information officer.
The person infected is not a resident of Stanislaus County.
The release said people who attended the games showcasing the area’s top high school basketball players may be at risk of developing measles and should watch for symptoms.
Vaishampayan said she was told that the woman attended both the girls and boys games held at Turlock High.
“We were just notified this afternoon,” Vaishampayan said. “We are getting the names of people she was there with.” The county Health Services Agency was also obtaining a list of players who participated and the schools they attend.
Vashaimpayan said the individual was early in the illness and the exposure time for measles, but she was contagious while attending the athletic event.
Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a rash. Those symptoms may surface from seven days to three weeks after exposure.
Turlock High said Thursday that it was working to notify people known to have attended the games last week to inform them of the potential exposure to measles. In addition, families that are unvaccinated and have children attending the school are being notified, a spokesperson said.
As a safety precaution, Turlock Unified School District was sending the following message to students Thursday evening:
“We were informed this afternoon by the Stanislaus County public health department that on March 21, between 4-9 p.m., there was a measles exposure at the Turlock Journal Central Valley Senior Showcase basketball game held at Turlock High School’s Bulldog Arena. If you or someone you know was in attendance at this game and have not had an MMR vaccination or have only had one MMR vaccination, please contact Public Health at 558-7700.”
Health officials are on alert for the contagious illness because of recent outbreaks of measles in Washington state and Oregon, and recent cases reported in California.
As of Wednesday, state health officials in California had identified two outbreaks of measles in patients linked to international travel. The 16 confirmed cases — six children and 10 adults — were in Southern California and the Bay Area, as well as Placer, Butte, Tehama and Calaveras counties.
Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties have not reported any residents sick with measles.
The latest measles scare has once again drawn attention to parents who refuse vaccinations for their kids. The Oregonian newspaper reported that most of those stricken with measles in the Northwest were young children who had not been immunized.
The dangers of measles in children include pneumonia, occurring in one in 20 cases, and encephalitis or brain swelling in one of 1,000 pediatric cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Death occurs in one or two cases in 1,000.
A possible long-term complication is a rare but fatal syndrome causing neurological deterioration, which can occur up to 10 years after the illness.
“People are forgetting how awful these diseases are and how many problems they cause,” Vaishampayan said. “The harm from the disease is more than the risks of the vaccine.”
There’s about a 3 percent chance that adults who had the childhood vaccinations will come down with symptoms if they’re exposed to measles.
For more information about measles, visit https://www/cdc.gov/measles.