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Santa Barbara resident diagnosed with measles, SLO County health officials prepared

Posted at 11:20 PM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-01 02:38:46-04

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department says a 20-year-old man from Santa Barbara has been diagnosed with measles.

It’s the first case of measles in the county since 2016.

Health officials say the young man has been in isolation since May 29, but he’s been infectious since May 25.

The health department says the patient spent much of his infectious period outside of the county, traveling in Riverside County, Los Angeles County, Ventura County, and San Francisco.

Public health officials are reportedly working to contact and interview anyone who may have been exposed to the patient to prevent further spread of the disease.

“We highly encourage every person to know their measles vaccination status by checking in with their health care providers. Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily by air and through direct contact with someone who is infected. The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is safe and highly effective in protecting individuals from contracting measles,” shared Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

While San Luis Obispo County has not seen any cases, health officials are prepared for what they believe is the inevitable.

“We sort of are acting on the presumption that it’s a matter of time before we see a case in San Luis Obispo County,” Dr. Rick Rosen said, Deputy Health Officer. “When we see these outbreaks, the majority of the cases have been in communities with low vaccination rates. So logically, folks should get vaccinated.”

Health officials recommend getting a booster or a blood test to check if you don’t remember if you have been vaccinated. Also Senate Bill 276 in the legislature would limit authority of local health care doctors to grant exemptions.

California has seen 49 cases of measles in 2019.