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Measles cases continue to rise in California, officials warn

State health officials announced Friday that the number of measles cases in California was far higher compared to the same time last year.

The California Department of Public Health confirmed 32 such cases so far this year, compared to three measles cases reported over the same period in 2013. The uptick in cases comes amid a record-setting flu season.

And the threat of transmission increases among foreign travelers who come from areas experiencing outbreaks, such as the Philippines.

"We can expect to see more imported cases of this vaccine-preventable disease,”  said Dr. Ron Chapman, state health officer and director of the Public Health Department.

At least 10 cases were reported in Los Angeles County, seven cases were reported in Orange County and five in San Mateo County, officials say. Alameda and Santa Clara counties each reported one case and Contra Costa County reported four such cases, officials said.

At least seven cases included people who traveled to the Philippines, where a large outbreak is occurring. Two others had traveled to India and another to Vietnam, where measles is endemic.

Officials say immunization is the best defense against measles.  In fact, they say the high immunization rates in California have kept preventable childhood diseases, such as measles, at record lows during the last 20 years. 

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ruben.vives@latimes.com

Twitter: @latvives

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