Measles outbreak continues despite California's new vaccine requirements

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Six months after California passed a new law designed to bolster immunization requirements for school children by disallowing religious exemptions, 20 state residents have become infected with the measles, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Of the 20 confirmed infections, 18 occurred in Los Angeles County. The two other cases were identified in San Luis Obispo County. None of those infected in L.A. County had been appropriately inoculated with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

While investigating the outbreak, which disproportionately affected the county's orthodox Jewish community, county health officials identified more than 2,000 people who may have been potentially exposed to the virus. Approximately 10 percent of this group had not been vaccinated. Those without immunity were offered vaccination or other treatment to protect them from contracting the measles.

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"It really speaks to what we're so concerned about, which is parents making their decisions not to vaccinate their kids, and they can bring their kids into any setting and then contaminate everyone," Robert Adler, MD, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, told the LA Times.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and can easily spread to those without immunity. Common indicators of infection include fever, runny nose, cough and a rash that spreads all over the body. Measles can sometimes cause serious illness such as pneumonia or encephalitis. The condition can be fatal. The high transmissibility of the measles requires a vaccination rate between 96 to 99 percent to establish herd immunity.

More articles on infection control: 
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CDC: Flu hospitalizations, outpatient visits continue to rise

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