Infant Under a Year Old Is Latest Measles Case in California Outbreak

Child is under a year old and was too young to be vaccinated, officials said.

ByABC News
February 2, 2015, 12:01 PM

— -- A baby in California is the latest confirmed measles case in the state, health officials said today.

The baby is enrolled in the Samohi (Santa Monica High School) Infant Toddler Center, where students bring their children for day care, officials said.

The baby is under a year old, which is too young to receive the full complement of the MMR (Measles, Mumps Rubella) immunizations, according to Malibu Unified School District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker.

The infant care center will be closed until further notice, and 14 babies will be under quarantine for the next three weeks, school officials told ABC News.

There are an estimated 24 infants and toddlers under the center’s care, Pinsker said.

“At least four or five of them are too young to receive their full set of boosters,” she said.

Parents were notified over the weekend about this latest case by phone and email, Pinsker said, adding that the center will be closed until the school receives guidance from the Los Angeles health department about next steps.

Pinsker said the school is asking parents to monitor their children for signs and symptoms of measles, which include fever, runny nose, pink eye and a telltale rash.

The disease is highly contagious even before symptoms appear, cautioned Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical editor.

The number of confirmed measles cases in California now tops 90.

Two weeks ago, a coach at Santa Monica High School was diagnosed with the virus, Pinsker said. The coach was not on staff but came into contact with about 70 baseball players, all who were completely immunized, Pinkser said. However, she said she could not confirm if the coach had been vaccinated.

Contributing to the state’s current outbreak is a rising number of people who are refusing to vaccinate their children or at least delaying the vaccination schedule recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Communities must be immunized at a high rate to avoid widespread outbreaks, the agency noted.

About 7 percent of students at Santa Monica High School have signed “personal belief” or medical exemptions excusing them from state requirements for the MMR vaccine, Pinsker said. The exemption rate for the Malibu Unified School District as a whole is 11.5 percent, she said.

California is one of 19 states that allows for personal vaccine exemptions. Nationally, 91.9 percent of children aged 19 months to 35 months have received the CDC-recommended dose of MMR.