HUMBOLDT COUNTY (KIEM) – Almost 20 years ago, many doctors and scientists believed we were very close to eradicating the measles virus from the country altogether. But now, the virus is making a comeback.
Across the United States there have been seventy-one confirmed cases of measles. In Northern California, a third case of the diseases has been identified in Shasta County
Now health officials are on alert, as this virus creeps closer to home.
“This is the closest we’ve had measles to Humboldt County geographically in a few years,” said Hava Phillips, the Supervisor for the Communicable Disease Program.
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2018 there were over 300 reported cases of the measles. Across twenty-two states, there have been more than 600 reported cases this year. The CDC predicts that 2019 numbers could surpass record high numbers from 2014.
“We’ve already seen more cases this year than we did last year,” said Phillips. “We are about to break a record for the most measles cases we had in at least twenty years.”
This viral infection has been rapidly growing.
“The main reason we are seeing an increase in measles in the United States is that we are seeing a decrease in our immunization rates in the U.S.,” said Phillips.
Signs of the measles include red eyes, runny nose, and rashes of tiny red spots that start on the head.
This infection is not like your common cold.
“Measles is not like the flu where you can protect yourself by washing your hands or covering your cough,” said Phillips.
“Measles is extremely contagious.”
The best chance of protecting yourself and others is by getting vaccinated with MMR, which protects you from not only the measles, but also mumps and rubella.
Redwood News reached out to St. Joseph Hospital and Redwood Memorial, where they told us, fortunately there have been no confirmed cases of measles.