TUSTIN (CBSLA.com)  — Orange County is leading the nation in new cases of measles.

There are more than 20 confirmed cases — three times the amount from just 12 days ago.

In KCAL9’s Health Watch on Wednesday, Orange County reporter Michele Gile explained what was behind the increase in cases and what health officials hope to do about the outbreak.

Gile reported that concern is growing, and rapidly, about the outbreak.

“So, for most people that get measles, it’s a relatively  self-limited illness,” said Dr. Angela Dangvu, “They’ll get fever and respiratory systems and this really significant rash. And they’ll recover  without much incident. But for a small percentage of people with measles, they can become terribly ill and die or have encephalopathy or permanent brain damage.”

The great risk is to babies under the age of 1, reported Gile — the patients too young to be vaccinated against the disease. Pregnant women who haven’t had the vaccine are also at risk.

Ninety percent of the population must be immune to keep the disease from spreading and Orange County has now dipped below this level.

According to authorities, all five of the children who came down with the measles were not vaccinated. Most of the adults who contracted it were also not vaccinated.

The question being asked — Is it necessary to be re-vaccinated?

Health experts say that in in nearly every case, two measles vaccines are good forever. Physicians have found that 5 percent of the population will not develop an immunity to measles.

And be forewarned during the outbreak — if you haven’t been vaccinated and work in a health care setting, a daycare center, a school or if you’re a student — and you’re exposed to the measles, you will be quarantined for two weeks.


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