Health officials are warning that shoppers and diners in Los Angeles County may have been exposed to measles in late December.
Officials confirmed one case of measles in a person who visited several locations in Malibu, Pasadena and Santa Monica while infectious. There is no longer any risk of infection at those establishments, because measles spreads when the sick person coughs or sneezes around others, officials say.
But people who were possibly near the infected person “may be at risk of developing measles and should watch for symptoms of the illness,” says a statement from the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
Symptoms include a fever, cough, red eyes and a rash that appears 10 to 12 days after exposure, officials say.
“If you think that you or someone you know has been exposed to or has measles, contact your healthcare provider by phone right before going in,” said L.A. County health officer Dr. Muntu Davis in the statement. “Getting immunized is the best way to keep from getting and spreading measles.”
Officials say the infected person visited the Santa Monica Pier and Blue Plate Taco restaurant Dec. 26 between 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m; Ralphs and Nordstrom Rack on Foothill Boulevard in Pasadena on Dec. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Paradise Cove Beach Cafe in Malibu on Dec. 29 from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
California tightened its vaccine laws in 2016 after a major outbreak of measles centered on Disneyland. Now, school-age children must be fully immunized unless a doctor writes them a medical exemption.
After the law took effect, the vaccination rate among kindergartners in California jumped from 93% to 95%. Doctors say roughly 95% of people need to be immunized to protect against a highly contagious disease such as measles.