Measles cases on the rise

Confirmed cases of measles in California have increased ten times over last year at this time, the California Department of Public Health reported Friday.

The department said 32 confirmed cases have been confirmed so far this year compared to just three at this time a year ago.

“Immunization is the best defense against measles, with 99 percent of persons developing immunity after two doses,” Dr. Ron Chapman, state health officer and director of CDPH, said in a statement. “With an outbreak in the Philippines and measles transmission ongoing in many parts of the world outside of North and South America, we can expect to see more imported cases of this vaccine-preventable disease.”

The 32 measles cases have been reported in Alameda (1), Contra Costa (4), Los Angeles (10), Orange (6), Riverside (5), San Mateo (1), San Diego (4) and Santa Clara (1) counties.

The number of cases per year in California has ranged from 4 to 40 since 2000, when the disease was declared eliminated in the United States, with almost all cases linked to travel to parts of world where the disease is still active.

The department recommends that children get their first dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine at 12 to 15 months. The second dose of MMR is usually administered before children start kindergarten at 4 to 6 years.

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