Measles Cases Rise in Southern California


Nicholas Hung

While the 2014 outbreak of measles reached a total of 667 cases, halfway through 2019 cases have already broken 700, and the number continues to climb.

Nicholas Hung and Benjamin Kim

Orange County health officials confirmed two cases of measles on May 4, bringing the number of confirmed cases this year to three in OC, including a UCI graduate student and an infant.

Measles cases in 2019 have reached a record high in 25 years since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000. The nationwide measles outbreak reached over 750 cases in 22 states as of May 3, according to the CDC.

This is because there needs to be at least 96% of the population vaccinated against the virus to be effective.”

— school nurses James Matejcek

“This is because there needs to be at least 96% of the population vaccinated against the virus to be effective”, school nurse James Matejcek. “We are starting to see more cases because people are not getting vaccinated which has caused a low in the herd immunity. Once this happens people that have not been vaccinated are not only at risk of contracting measles but are also at risk of spreading the disease to others.”

University of California, Los Angeles and California State University, Los Angeles quarantined hundreds of students due to possible exposure from two contagious students on April 22. At UCLA, 500 students were screened, and 119 students and eight staff members were held in quarantine for up to seven days.

“I encourage all Americans to adhere to CDC vaccine guidelines in order to protect themselves, their families and their communities from measles and other vaccine preventable diseases,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a press statement on April 25. “We must work together as a nation to eliminate this disease once and for all.”

A University of California, Irvine graduate student showed measles symptoms for three days on campus before being quarantined. He had no recent travel history, and officials are currently investigating how he contracted the virus locally.

“Campus health experts have been working closely with local public health officials to ensure that notifications are made and proper care is provided to all who might be affected,” UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman wrote in a statement to the student body. “We are currently notifying students, faculty and staff who may have been exposed, providing them with information about treatment and prevention.”

The first confirmed case of measles in Orange County was reported on April 30. A Placentia woman who had contracted measles overseas attended a showing of “Avengers: Endgame” in a Fullerton theater. Fullerton Health officials are concerned that she may have infected nearby moviegoers and the public, according to NBC.