Measles Outbreak Seen in California Bay Areas

Bad news for all Californians, cases of measles in the state are on rise. The disease is not uncommon around winter, but the prior year we had only 3 confirmed cases. According to California Department of Public Health, this year, we have 32 cases. At least 16 of them are reported from Southern California. See the chart given below for the affected counties.


The chart shown above may change overtime with more cases being confirmed. We can only hope for the opposite by taking precautions. The virus seems to be looming over the entire bay area. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that by 2000, the disease was killed in the United States for good. The new reports that come up now are more connected to travelling to foreign countries where every citizen does not get access to vaccination. This is in line with the recent Californian cases. CDPH mentioned that at least 3 Californians contracted the virus in Philippines. Two others contracted it in India. It is claimed that currently both the countries are suffering from measles outbreak. Health officials still blame the anti vaccine campaign for the outbreak by pointing out that some Californian patients were never vaccinated. The anti vaccine campaign rose from religious belief and suspicion on the safety of ingredients that go in the vaccine. One British doctor named Andrew Wakefield in 1998 recommended health departments to test the ingredients of Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines. He believed they had link to autism. This news was widely distributed by the media, ultimately inflicting paranoia among the citizens.

 In California, vaccination has always been a sensitive topic with people being more upfront about their disinterest in going for it. Consequently, we have laws that facilitate exemption from immunization.

How does Measles virus spread?
In-depth structure of Measles

Biology teaches that measles virus stays in the respiratory system with mucus sending it to both nasal cavities and throat. The host or carrier, therefore, can transfer the virus to others by coughing and sneezing. Once captured in the air, the virus can remain alive for up to 1 hour. This explains why even without any contact with the main host, one can get infected by this virus. Moisture, however, is more hazardous. The virus in the wetness survives for up to 2 hours. Unvaccinated people have 90 percent chance of getting infected upon exposure.

Symptoms

After the exposure, the new host may go without feeling any negative physical reaction for up to 10 or 12 days. But this is no grace period. The virus uses the time to hijack and corrupt the cells of his lymph gland, eyes and respiratory system. The initial symptoms of the final illness are cold and cough accompanied by fever which may start to worsen later. During this time, the host will also find his eyes watery and red which will eventually make him sensitive to light. This eye infection is called conjunctivitis. Inside the mouth, there will be white spots as well. The final symptom of the virus is growing red spots over the body skin. It starts from top to bottom.

Precautions

Vaccine is by far the best precaution. But those who do not wish to get it may go for masks. This should be given high priority in hospital areas. During an outbreak, it is also best to not use public transportation and eat out. In some countries, schools and offices are closed for an indefinite time to prevent additional cases. Hopefully, someday United States will also implement this method.

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