Posted on September 22, 2011

California Leads U.S. in Measles Cases

Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2011

As more parents forgo measles vaccinations for their children, the number of Californians contracting the highly contagious disease has reached a 10-year high, outpacing every other state in the nation.

As of Monday, there were 28 reported cases of measles so far in 2011–the largest statewide figure reported, according to state and federal health officials. That is the highest incidence since 2001, when 40 people in California reported having measles. There were nine cases in all of 2009 and 27 cases in 2010.

Of the cases reported this year, 22 of the 28 either were unvaccinated or very likely to lack the vaccine, according to the California Department of Public Health. More than half had recently traveled internationally, including to Asia and Europe, which have seen a drop in immunizations and widespread outbreaks.

Measles, transmitted through coughing and sneezing, can cause ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhea, brain injuries and death. {snip}


Cases are also on the rise around the nation. In 2011, 211 people were diagnosed with measles–the highest number in 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many contracted it abroad, and about 85% were unvaccinated or had undocumented vaccination status.

The disease was eliminated in the United States in 2000. But those traveling outside the country often don’t realize the danger of exposure, said Preeta Kutty, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC.