Calaveras County Public Health

A child under the age of 5 years old in Calaveras County was infected with the measles in September and may have exposed several locations in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. 

The child was not vaccinated against the measles, a highly contagious virus which often causes a painful rash, but has since recovered, said a news release from the Calaveras County Health Human and Services Agency. 

Officials catalogued various locations where the public may have been exposed: Angels Camp Farmers Market and playground at Utica Park on Sept. 10; Murphys Farmers Market and playground at Murphys Community Park on Sept. 12; the playground at Murphys Community Park on Sept. 13; Rapid Care: Adventist Health in Angels Camp and Adventist Health Sonora Emergency Department on Sept. 15; Dignity Health Arnold Medical Clinic on Sept. 17; and Dignity Health Angels Camp Medical Clinic on Sept. 20. 

“Measles is a very contagious and serious disease,”  Calaveras County Health Officer Dr. René Ramirez said in the news release. “It is so contagious that nine out of 10 people

close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.” said Dr. René Ramirez,

Calaveras County Health Officer, in the press release. 

The Calaveras County Public Health Division is encouraging the public to check their vaccination status against measles. Two doses of the vaccine is considered 97% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus. 

Michelle Jachetta, director of the Tuolumne County Public Health Department, said in an email that her office was "working closely with Calaveras County Public Health and Adventist Health Sonora on the investigation.”

Tuolumne County residents who were potentially exposed will be contacted by the department, Jachetta said.

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is recommended for immunity to measles, with the first dose typically given at 12 to 15 months of age and, the second, at 4 to 6 years old. 

"People who have received two doses of measles vaccine as a child are protected for life,” the Calaveras County news release said. “Adults need at least one dose if they are not sure whether they were vaccinated.”

Vaccines can be obtained through a regular medical provider. 

Measles spreads through air droplets and is present in the nose and throat of an infected person. The measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air when the person with measles coughs or sneezes. People can also be infected when they breathe in the virus or touch an infected surface, then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.

The virus is considered to be so contagious that it can spread to 90% of people around an infected person if they are not protected. A child can also get the measles by being in a room where a person with the measles has been, even up to two hours after the person has left. 

Infected people can spread measles from four days before through four days after the rash appears.

Symptoms can appear one to two weeks after infection. They include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, and then are followed by a rash three to five days after symptoms begin. 

The rash typically appears on the face along the hairline or behind to the ears before spreading.

Those who may be experiencing symptoms are asked to contact their local health provider. 

People with measles are recommended to not go into public, day care, school or work at the risk they may expose someone who is unprotected. 

Complications include diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia, and seizures, with some being fatal. 

Unvaccinated young children, unvaccinated pregnant women, or people with a weakened immune system are considered at risk. 

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at gricapito@uniondemocrat.net or (209) 588-4526.

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