Three confirmed cases of measles in Orange County over the past six weeks prompted health officials to send an advisory to local physicians.
In the first two cases, the afflicted had traveled to Asia, but the third patient had not traveled out of the country, according to the letter to healthcare providers, dated Monday.
The recent outbreak has alarmed officials because measles is highly contagious, and over the past five years, the county has seen only at most only one case on average per year.
“This recent increase in cases raises the potential for additional cases in the near future,” according to the advisory sent by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Symptoms usually start 10 to 12 days after exposure, but sometimes up to three weeks and include:
- Fever as high as 105 degrees
- Runny nose
- Conjunctivitis, or pink eye.
Two to four days later, a rash develops, usually around the ears and hairline, that can spread to the face and arms and legs.
In the three local cases, the patients went to area health care providers. More than 150 patients and their family and friends faced potential exposure and required their own evaluations, according to the advisory.
Many had to undergo testing and receive vaccination, according to the HCA.
Measles is considered “extremely infectious” and can spread through direct contact or through the air, according to county health officials.
Physicians were advised that any patients with measles symptoms should be isolated and given a surgical mask. Only healthcare workers who have immunity to the disease should care for the patients, according to the county.
--City News Service