California public health officials discuss the likely cause of the measles outbreak

California

There are 38 measles cases and counting, and California is seeing an above average number of measles cases.

We’re not even half way through 2019.

As the number of measles cases climbs across California, the state’s public health department wants international travelers to make sure they’re vaccinated.

As of Thursday, there are 38 measles cases across the state, 15 of them reported within the last week.

All but six of the cases are scattered across northern California, the rest are in Los Angeles.

California Public Health department Deputy Director Dr. Gil Chavez says most of the cases were carried and spread by international travelers returning from the Philippines and Ukraine.

“Those two countries are frequent travel destinations for people that live in California because they may have relatives there,” Chavez says. “So that is the predominance of our cases, we’ve had a few cases to other destinations to Thailand, Cambodia and Israel.”

Although health department officials say more than two-thirds of the cases are in un-vaccinated adults, they say vaccinating children helps prevent the disease from spreading quickly.

“There are some communities and schools in particular where we have up to half of the students are not vaccinated, so those communities are very susceptible to measles outbreaks, so if measles was to be introduced, we would have a massive outbreak,” Chavez says.

This week, lawmakers moved forward with legislation that would give more power to state public health officials more power when it comes to vaccinations in children, but the department is not commenting on that.

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