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Hundreds possibly exposed after measles case confirmed at Sacramento hospital

Latest on possible mass measles exposure at Sacramento hospital
Latest on possible mass measles exposure at Sacramento hospital 03:05

EL DORADO COUNTY — Hundreds of people may have been exposed to measles at a Sacramento hospital after an El Dorado County child was confirmed to have contracted it this week after a trip out of the country, officials said Friday.

The measles case was confirmed on March 5, 2024, by doctors at the UC Davis Medical Center after the child had initially been evaluated at San Joaquin Urgent Care. This is the third confirmed case of measles in California this year.

The child who contracted the virus is recovering at home.

UC Davis Health said the hospital has a record of everyone who was in the emergency room that day between noon and 5 p.m. and has already begun contacting those who may have been exposed. It is estimated around 300 people may have been exposed.

"It takes a lot of work to talk to all of the individuals and make sure they got their shots or tell them what to do," said Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County's public health officer.

With summer travel coming up, Dr. Kasirye wants to remind everyone to get their vaccinations. "I think this is a wake-up call for all of us," she said.

What are the symptoms of measles?

Symptoms from the disease usually start around 7-14 days after exposure, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include a fever, a cough, and a runny nose, and then a rash may develop three to five days later. In some cases, it can lead to serious complications including swelling of the brain and seizures.

"Measles is spread through the respiratory route and can live in the air for up to an hour in the airspace where an infectious person has coughed or sneezed. Other people can become infected by breathing the contaminated air," a Sacramento County Public Health spokesperson said.

Measles, which can be prevented with vaccines, can be an especially serious illness for young children, pregnant individuals, and immunocompromised people. In some cases, it can be deadly. Measles is so contagious that around nine out of every 10 people who are not vaccinated and are around someone who does have measles will likely become infected.

If you suspect you or someone you know has measles, you should contact a medical professional immediately. Sacramento County recommends contacting a medical professional by phone or email first to avoid risking further exposure.

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