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Two more cases of measles confirmed in L.A. County

Two more cases of measles confirmed in L.A. County
Dr. Monica Asnani holds a vial containing the measles vaccine at her office on Wilshire Boulevard. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Two new cases of measles have been confirmed in Los Angeles County, bringing the total to 14 this year including residents and people who passed through the county.

One of the new measles patients is an L.A. County resident and the other was a traveler, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a news release on Saturday.

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Public health officials warned that people may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus at the Grove shopping mall and surrounding areas on April 27 as well as Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 2 and employee shuttle on April 30 and May 1.

Two new measles cases were also reported over the weekend in Long Beach and Orange County. The state’s county healthcare departments track infectious diseases but some cities, like Long Beach, have their own health agencies and also report on contagions.

Of the eight measles cases among L.A. County residents, three have no known links to the others, with two of those cases involving international travel. The patients include a UCLA student and a Cal State L.A. student, and the majority were not vaccinated, public health officials said.

“We will likely see additional measles cases in Los Angeles County, so if you are not already immune to measles, the best way to protect yourself and to prevent the spread of measles is to get the measles immunization,” Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis said in the news release.

The Orange County patient, an infant too young to be vaccinated, may have exposed people to the virus at Children’s Hospital of Orange County emergency room on April 28, April 30 and May 2.

The Long Beach patient is a UC Irvine graduate student who contracted the virus despite being vaccinated. The student visited multiple locations in Long Beach and Orange County between April 28 and May 3, including a gastropub, an antique store, a cigar lounge, the UC Irvine classics department and a Long Beach movie theater showing the popular film “Avengers: Endgame.”

Another Orange County measles patient, a woman from Placentia in her 20s, is believed to have seen the same movie in Fullerton the night of April 25.

Measles is spread by coughing and sneezing. The virus can linger in the air and infect others for up to two hours.

People are at risk of getting measles for 21 days after exposure, with symptoms including a high fever, cough, runny nose and rash.

Complications from measles include pneumonia, encephalitis and ear infections leading to hearing loss. Of every 1,000 children with measles, one or two will die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Measles has spread nationwide as fewer children receive the vaccine because of fears that it causes autism, though that theory has been discredited by numerous scientific studies. Through April 26 of this year, 704 cases of measles were confirmed in 22 states — the highest number since federal officials declared the disease eliminated in 2000.

About 90% of people who have never been immunized will become ill within seven to 21 days after exposure, according to the Long Beach Department of Health.

The Los Angeles area has so far avoided a mass measles outbreak like the one in New York City, which has seen more than 400 cases since October, mostly in its Orthodox Jewish communities. But more than 1,000 students and staff members at UCLA and Cal State L.A. were quarantined after a student at each school came down with the disease.

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