Measles Outbreak in Northern California



This photomicrograph of a lung tissue specimen, reveals the histopathologic changes encountered in a case of measles pneumonia. 

There is a new outbreak of measles, one of the cases visited the North Lake Tahoe area while infectious.

All cases are linked to an unvaccinated traveler who was exposed in Europe and developed measles after returning to the San Francisco Bay area.

Patients with a rash and fever over 101 F regardless of travel history should schedule an appointment with a doctor immediately.

We will want to know about any trips, local or international. Who you have been around, any visitors in the three weeks prior to illness.  We will need to know about your vaccination history.

If we have a suspected measles case we will immediately contact public health.    

How are you tested?

We will collect a throat swab, urine specimen, send for lab work. The test will be sent to local public health.

Until you are cleared by public health we advise that you stay home, no victors until at lease four days after rash onset/or until cleared by public health.

More About Measles from the CDC

The clinical features of measles are fairly distinct, at least AFTER the rash appears. Unfortunately, most of the transmission takes place BEFORE the rash appears.

After an incubation period of 10 to 12 days, there is a stepwise increase in temperature to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher.

What usually follows is the classic triad of cough, coryza- or runny nose- and conjunctivitis or pink eye.

An astute observer may see Koplik spots- a rash found on mucous membranes a day or two before the cutaneous rash. This prodrome usually lasts 2 to 4 days.

The rash appears about 14 days after exposure and is caused by deposits of measles antibody in the skin. The rash is maculopapular, and appears first on the face.

During the next 2 or 3 days it descends to the trunk and then to the arms and legs. The rash fades in the order of appearance.

You may have seen measles when it was more common in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


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