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Measles making a comeback according to health officials

Posted at 7:30 PM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 22:35:32-05

The World Health Organization says measles are making a comeback, with more than 413,000 cases worldwide in 2019 alone.

According to health officials, the big risks associated with measles are international travel and not being adequately vaccinated.

There have been six measles outbreaks in California in 2019.

Five of those have been linked to patients with international travel.

In the midst of the busy holiday season, some Americans like Heidi Paniagua and her two children are traveling, but she says she isn't too worried about the viral infection.

"I vaccinate my kids always because you never know what's going around. It's just I see lots of stories, kids get sick and it's just terrible,” said Paniagua.

According to the CDC, measles is highly contagious and can be spread easily through coughing, sneezing, or even touching surfaces.

"Anywhere where there are lots of international people, so if you're in any airport. Disneyland is another example of that because there are lots of international visitors," said Rick Rosen, San Luis Obispo deputy health officer.

Rosen says while there have been a large number of cases in the U.S. this year.

San Luis Obispo County has been lucky.

"In our county we haven't seen any measles cases in 2019," said Rosen.

Rosen says if you are going to travel abroad, it's important to know your vaccination status.

"Around a year of age and again four to six years of age. The idea is right before starting kindergarten you get the second dose and then that's it, you're covered," said Rosen.

Paniagua says she knows herself and her kids are protected from measles, but when traveling she still takes precautions to avoid getting sick."

"Good hand washing, wash their face, if they have a cough, cough in their arm, try not to touch things," said Paniagua.

There have been 72 confirmed measles cases in California this year, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Two of those cases were reported in Santa Barbara County.

Some of the symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny red eyes, and a red-blotch rash.

Health officials say if you are dealing with that type of rash and fever you should call your doctor immediately for an evaluation.