Who is Patient Zero in OC's Measles Outbreak?

Categories: Doctor's Orders

391px-RougeoleDP.jpg
The characteristic measles rash

California is currently in the midst of a historic measles outbreak, with 49 cases confirmed since the beginning of the year, compared to only four cases during the same time in 2013. Orange County is the hardest-hit county, with 21 confirmed cases of the measles--over double any other county. But the most surprising fact might be that, according to Orange County Public Health (OCPH), over half of Orange County's confirmed cases--11--can be traced back to one person.

Who -- and why -- is Orange County's Patient Zero?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention declared measles eradicated in the United States in 2000, and since then, California has only seen between four and 40 cases per year. With 49 cases by the end of March, this outbreak is already the worst measles outbreak California has seen since the disease was eradicated.

OCPH knows who Patient Zero is, but can't release any information--city, hospital, race, social economic status--due to patient privacy laws. But we do know this: Vaccination rates are the highest in North County, with Anaheim being the city with the most vaccinated students. South County school districts, on the other hand, have the highest rates of non-vaccination.

To attend elementary school in California, children have to have two rounds of the MMR vaccine--both on or before their first birthday--unless their parents fill out a personal belief waver. Multiple Orange County clinics offer low- and no-cost vaccinations to low-income families. A full list can be found on the OCPH website. Approximately 99 percent of people who receive both doses eventually develop immunity to the disease, according to the CDC.

Of the OC five kids who came down with measles, none of them were vaccinated. There other 16 cases were adults, five of which are healthcare workers. There have been seven total hospitalizations this year in Orange County for measles. State-wide, nearly half of this year's measles cases are from unvaccinated children. The disease is highly contagious--according to Occucare International, 90 percent of un-immune people who come in close contact with someone with measles will contract it.

Though the disease was eliminated from the United States, it can still be a threat, especially to travelers who visit countries where measles is still prevalent. Of California's 49 cases, 11 patients had travelled outside of North or South America, including to parts of the world where outbreaks are actively occurring or where measles is widespread, according to the California Department of Public Health. Of the patients without international travel, 30 had contact with known measles cases, three had contact with international travelers and 5 are under investigation to identify potential sources.

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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41 comments
faerierose9
faerierose9

Half the people infected were vaccinated. does nobody ever notice that? 

chrisphickie
chrisphickie

You folks who do the reporting did listen to the radio interview on 3/31 of Dr. Frank Nunez from OCHD ((http://www.kcrw.com/media-player/mediaPlayer2.html?type=audio&id=ww140331pair_of_quakes_signa) where he said the measles cases were clustered in small pockets in central and south OC, didn't you? Also you yourself have that map showing school district vaccination rates and the biggest non-vaccinating school districts are in the south, but there is one small pocket in central OC where only 50% of the students are vaccinated-- http://www.ocregister.com/articles/parents-534104-vaccines-health.html?graphics .

afroman1979
afroman1979

Just waiting for the first lawsuit against someone that CHOSE not to vaccinate, and as a result, got a child or baby sick that was too young for the vaccination.


You hear that you anti vaccination losers!!!  You injure my child as a result of your anti vaccination negligence and I will sue the fking shit out of you!!!

Vince Hughley
Vince Hughley

but what if other people from foreign lands come here? and like you, they refuse to vaccinate their kids?

Vince Hughley
Vince Hughley

Gilberto Torres, you do realize that autism is linked to to developmental issues during pregnancy, not due to vaccines, right?

Jessica Brumbaugh
Jessica Brumbaugh

Vaccinations!?!?! Stupid parents!! And yes I'm Christian! (Even though that has NOTHING to do with it)

Don Nguyen
Don Nguyen

there is not mounting scientific evidence. there is mounting paranoia. unvaccinated kids spread infection of this highly contagious disease and reduce herd immunity - this is selfish and arguably unChristian. i think the rising prevalence of autism is really due to misclassification of autism in the past.

Elizabeth Kent Morales
Elizabeth Kent Morales

I had measles when I was little...fever, rash. Stayed home from school till fever was gone.No doctor visit just bed rest.

Patti Page
Patti Page

I was vaccinated when I was a kid, I got measles, chickenpox, mumps, I can believe im still alive. :)

Gilberto Torres
Gilberto Torres

Despite mounting scientific evidence, as a parent and good Christian, I strongly believe Vaccinations are pointless. Think about it, why is Autism so prevalent now a days? Why did those who got vaccinated get infected? Connects the dots people. Er.

Stephen Zamora
Stephen Zamora

Ricky and Rocky for it right. Last I heard the definition of eliminated and eradicated meant no mas. But???? Stupid article. Much a do about nothing...

Brittany Clarabell Rangel
Brittany Clarabell Rangel

Parents have every right to not vaccinate!!! Maybe people should stop visiting other countries and bringing back their damn diseases.

Vivian Thomas
Vivian Thomas

vaccination does not equal immunity.....of the 21 cases in OC only five weren't vaccinated. The rest were adults 5 of them work in healthcare which means they were vaccinated and still got it.

Charles Lam
Charles Lam

A disease is eradicated in a place if it no longer actively exists in that place. Measles is eradicated in the United States, but people travel abroad and bring it back, infecting other people.

Molly Jane Quirk
Molly Jane Quirk

"Though the disease was eliminated from the United States, it can still be a threat, especially to travelers who visit countries where measles is still prevalent. " .... The disease WAS eradicated from the U.S. Not internationally. And it's now making a domestic comeback due to the failure of some US citizens to vaccinate.

Ricky Diego
Ricky Diego

If it was eradicated how does it still exist

Rocky Neidhardt
Rocky Neidhardt

A. How was the disease eradicated if it is still around.

Mike Schultz
Mike Schultz

Those who do not remember the past are commend to repeat it

Whitney Espinosa
Whitney Espinosa

I wonder of the 49 cases 16 cases were adults, five of which are healthcare workers, were they not vaccinated? Is it possible to still contract it if you have been vaccinated?

Chris Becerra
Chris Becerra

These bitches that didn't vaccinate those kids should be arrested and sterilized

Don Nguyen
Don Nguyen

always wary of sites that have an obvious agenda. the cited abstract was published in 1988 and it was before the 2-dose schedule was introduced. check the CDC website for a timeline.

Kit Hope
Kit Hope

Thank you, anti-vaccers.

David Elliott Lee
David Elliott Lee

Amazing in this day and age that "educated" people take medical advice from Playboy playmates. Oh well--to each his own!

Chris Salvador
Chris Salvador

Regardless, that statement is not sufficient justification for failing to vaccinate your child. Look up herd immunity.

Stephanie Roske
Stephanie Roske

Yikes ! Parents don't be stupid. You are doing no one favors and there are plenty of Travel Doctors locally who will give you all vaccinations before you travel.

NOMOREOBAMA
NOMOREOBAMA

Lets just keep letting un-vaccinated "illegals " to stay in the country. Nothing like a catastrophic outbreak to wake people up!

Leeny2
Leeny2

It does NOT mean they were vaccinated. Take a look at the California Nurses Assoc Facebook page. Some nurses are anti-vaccine. 

camb
camb

@NOMOREOBAMA  Actually, info from OC Public Health indicates that the highest rates of unvaccinated children are in Orange County's most affluent cities (Newport Beach, Huntington, Laguna Beach, and South County), and they tend to be white. This is documented because children must obtain a "personal belief" exclusion to be admitted to school without vaccinations. Immigrants actually have very high rates of vaccination. 

roman_archer
roman_archer

@NOMOREOBAMA I'm shocked! I thought for sure you were going to blame the measles outbreak on Obama. Instead you blame the outbreak on unvaccinated illegals! DAMN YOU CANADIANS!

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