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Home » Los Angeles public health officials issue measles warnings

Los Angeles public health officials issue measles warnings


I don’t often focus on these types of stories, but I thought it was relevant that the city of Los Angeles, which has a metropolitan area population that is the third largest in the world, shows how exposure to measles can touch a lot of people. And it shows how a professional Public Health Department responds to potential measles exposure.

Although a lot of people, especially anti-vaxxers, dismiss measles as “nothing,” that is just not a medical or scientific fact. We’ll get into why measles is much more dangerous than people claim in this article, but we’re going to focus on the information about measles exposure from the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department. Their response is the direct opposite of the response by the Florida Surgeon General, Joseph Ladapo, who had a tepid, if not useless, response to a measles outbreak in his state.

sick child wiping his nose with tissue los angeles measles
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

All about measles and vaccinations

Measles (rubeola, not to be confused with rubella or German measles) is a respiratory disease caused by the Measles morbillivirus. This virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. 

The virus is spread through respiration (contact with fluids from an infected person’s nose and mouth, either directly or through aerosol transmission). It is highly contagious — 90% of people without immunity sharing living space with an infected person will catch it.

Infected individuals can spread measles up to four days before and four days after a rash appears.

There are no specific treatments for the disease. And there are no miracle preventions, except the MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps, and rubella). The first dose is usually given at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination. The immunity from the vaccine lasts a lifetime.

According to CDC measles vaccine recommendations, children under 12 months are not vaccinated against measles and are the most susceptible to catching the disease.

In case you heard anti-vaccine claims about the MMR vaccine, there is no link between the vaccine and autism – this is settled science.

According to the CDC, some of the many measles complications are:

  • About 30% of measles cases develop one or more complications.
  • Pneumonia is the complication that is most often the cause of death in young children.
  • Ear infections occur in about 1 in 10 measles cases and permanent loss of hearing can result.
  • Diarrhea is reported in about 8% of cases.
  • As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia.
  • About 1 child in every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions, deafness, and other long-term neurological deficits.
  • A measles infection can result in short- and long-term immune system dysfunction which can leave the child susceptible to other diseases early in life (which is in direct opposition to claims by anti-vaccine activists that it helps “boost” the immune system).
  • About 1-2 children out of 1000 who contract measles may develop subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), a rare chronic, progressive encephalitis that affects primarily children and young adults – a persistent infection of the measles virusThe disease starts with measles infection, usually before the age of 2 years, followed by approximately 6-15 asymptomatic years. Some researchers think the asymptomatic period is around 5-8 years after the initial disease. The disease gradually progresses with psychological and neurological deterioration, including personality changes, seizures, and coma. It is always ultimately fatal.
  • And sadly, for every 1,000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die from it.

Measles is much more dangerous than most people think. I’m not here for fear-mongering – but real science tells us that measles is a dangerous, debilitating disease that has both short and long-term consequences. It is not “just a rash.”

And even in the USA, where over 90% of children have received their measles vaccinations, there are large groups of children who may be vulnerable to the disease. For example, children under the age of 12 months are not vaccinated. Although the MMR vaccine is very effective, up to 7% of those children who received their measles vaccinations may not be immune.

physician in white coat wearing a stethoscope
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Los Angeles measles exposure information

On 13 April 2024, the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department tracked one person with measles who visited several hotels, restaurants, and tourist locations in the Los Angeles area. The public health officials did some detailed work and found that the infected individual visited the following places:

Saturday, 3/30/24

  • Sheraton Gateway Hotel Gym — 6101 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045 (5:30 a.m. – 8 a.m.)
  • Denny’s – 5535 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045 (time not yet determined)
  • Universal Studios – 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
  • Buca Di Beppo – 1000 Universal Studios Blvd, Universal City, CA 91608 (appx. 12 p.m.)
  • Cletus Chicken Shack in Universal Studies — 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608 (appx. 4 p.m.)
  • Lard Lad Doughnuts and EC Food Truck in Universal Studios — 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608 (time not yet determined)
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream — 445 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (time not yet determined)
  • Sheraton Gateway Hotel — 6101 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045

Sunday, 3/31/24

  • Sheraton Gateway Hotel Gym — 6101 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045 (5:30 a.m. -8 a.m.)
  • Jack in the Box–1127 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90301 (appx. 11:00 a.m.)
  • Santa Monica Pier—Santa Monica, CA 90401
  • Pier Gear — 380 Santa Monica Pier #1, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (time not yet determined)
  • El Torito Mexican Restaurant — 13715 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 (6:00 p.m. – 8 p.m.)
  • Sheraton Gateway Hotel — 6101 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Monday, 4/1/24

  • Sheraton Gateway Hotel — 6101 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045
  • Denny’s – 5535 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045 (time not yet determined)
  • McDonald’s – 5908 W Manchester Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045

That is a lot of locations with the potential of thousands of exposures to the measles virus. Remember, measles can occur up to 21 days after initial exposure, so we may not know how many people were infected for several weeks.

As opposed to the inadequate response of the Florida Department of Health, which is essentially doing nothing about a measles outbreak, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health has a clear science-based statement on the measles vaccine:

People who were in the locations above should confirm if they have been vaccinated against measles. If they have not had measles in the past and have not yet obtained the measles vaccine, they are at risk of contracting measles if they have been exposed.

Again, people who are at risk of contracting measles are those who are unvaccinated, especially those under the age of 12 months.

According to Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer,

Measles is spread by air and by direct contact even before you know you have it and can lead to severe disease. Measles is highly contagious for those who are not immune to it. Initially causing fever, cough, red, watery eyes, and followed by a rash, it can result in serious complications for young children and vulnerable adults.

The Public Health Department makes the following recommendations for individuals who may have been in the areas where this infected person visited:

  • Review their immunization and medical records to determine if they are protected against measles. People who have not had measles infection or received measles immunization previously may not be protected from the measles virus and should talk with a health care provider about receiving measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) immunization.
  • Contact and notify their health care provider as soon as possible about a potential exposure if they are pregnant, or an infant, have a weakened immune system and/or are unimmunized regardless of vaccination history.
  • Monitor themselves for illness with fever and/or an unexplained rash from 7 days to 21 days after their exposure (the period when symptoms may develop)
  • If symptoms develop, stay at home, and avoid school, work, and any large gatherings. Call a healthcare provider immediately. Do not enter a health care facility before calling them and making them aware of your measles exposure and symptoms. Public Health can assist healthcare providers in appropriately diagnosing and managing your care.

Summary

It’s good to read that the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health is taking an aggressive position on this potential outbreak before it actually becomes an outbreak. This is what Public Health departments are supposed to do, protect the health of the citizens and residents.

We do not know if this one person is going to cause an outbreak or not. If they were in close contact with other individuals, then it may become something.

Michael Simpson

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