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2nd S.D. County Death From Measles Affirmed

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In the wake of a second San Diego child’s death of measles, county health officials stepped up efforts Thursday to prevent the epidemic from spreading.

About 625 cases have been reported in the San Diego County, a fourth of those so severe that patients were hospitalized, said Dr. Donald G. Ramras, deputy director for public health services.

In an effort to halt the outbreak, which is unprecedented in the last decade, health officials will hold a one-day free immunization clinic May 12, at 17 sites across the county.

“We are in an epidemic--go get your shots,” Ramras said.

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Ismael Yepez, 2, of Escondido, died April 27 as a result of measles-related bronchial pneumonia, the San Diego County coroner’s office said Thursday. The toddler had not received the vaccine.

Last month, coroners concluded that 10-year-old Hector Lopez’ death was caused by measles.

Of the first 487 cases of measles diagnosed in the county, more than 50% were among preschoolers. And a disproportionate number of those cases were in the Latino community. Although 17% of the county’s population is Latino, 48% of the measles sufferers among preschoolers were Latino.

“Some people haven’t gotten the message and some don’t understand the message,” Ramras said. “But obviously there are a lot of people out there who are not immunized.”

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More than 3,000 people in 30 counties across the state have been stricken with the disease, and 30 have died. San Diego County will be among 18 counties and two cities to receive funds from the state to battle the epidemic. Local officials are due to receive $104,924 to provide free measles shots from 10 a.m. to noon May 12. Although two doses of the vaccine are now recommended, the clinics will offer only the first shot.

Those who should get the measles vaccines, include:

* Any child 12 months or older who has never been immunized.

* Anyone who has never had the measles or the first dose of the vaccine.

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* Adults from 23 to 33 years old.

For information on where to get the shots, call the county health department at 236-2237.


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