*UPDATED APRIL 2019
The United States is experiencing the worst measles outbreak in years.
So far in 2019, there have been 465 cases nationally (by comparison, there
were 372 total U.S. cases in all of 2018). Seventeen people have been
diagnosed with measles in California this year. While most of these cases
have been in unvaccinated communities in Northern California, there is
have valid cause for concern in our local community.
Just last week, Long Beach officials announced that a traveler diagnosed
with measles passed through the Long Beach Airport twice while infectious,
putting those who were at the airport at the time at risk. Authorities
are reviving efforts to educate people about the importance of getting
immunized against this highly contagious disease, which had been declared
eliminated in the United States in 2000.
Measles is highly contagious, and these current circumstances are likely
to cause some alarm, especially among parents of young children. If you
are a concerned mother or father, here is what you need to know to protect
The MMR vaccine – How safe? What does it cover?
The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and highly effective.
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. But most children
who get the MMR shot have no side effects.
If you have hesitated or declined the vaccine for your child in the past,
it is wise to reconsider the science and risk to your child and the community.
If a pediatric patient has already received his/her first dose of vaccination
(typically at age 12 months), he/she typically has very little to worry
about. In 95 percent of people it triggers lifelong immunity. The second
dose (age 4) protects those not protected from the first dose and brings
protection to 97 to 99 percent. If your child has not had a second dose
of the MMR vaccine and you live where widespread measles infections are
being reported, you can get the second MMR, as long as it’s been
one month since the first dose.
For babies under 6 months of age, if a mother has had her MMR shots and/or
had measles infection in her life, she passed the antibodies to her baby
during fetal development while in-utero and continues to pass them passively
while breastfeeding. Those antibodies are believed to provide protection
for young infants for up to six months or more.
Because the vaccine is so effective, if your child has been immunized,
he/she is safe to visit an amusement park, go to school and visit a medical
facility during an outbreak.
Contact your pediatrician for more information or to schedule a vaccination
Is there a link between the MMR shot and autism?
No. Scientists in the United States and other countries have carefully
studied the MMR shot. None has found a link between autism and the MMR shot.
The risk of measles
Measles is highly contagious. Ninety percent of unvaccinated people who
are exposed to the virus will catch it. People with the virus are contagious
for four days before they break out with the rash and it can live in the
air for up to two hours after an infectious person coughs or sneezes.
Measles also can be dangerous. While most recover completely from the virus,
children less than 5-years-old and adults older than 20 are at highest
risk of complications, which can include pneumonia, encephalitis (an inflammation
of the brain that causes seizures, deafness or even brain damage), or
Signs and Symptoms of measles
Measles starts with a fever that can get very high. Some of the other symptoms
that may occur are:
- Cough, runny nose, and red eyes
- Rash of tiny, red spots that start at the head and spread to the rest of the body
What to do if you suspect you have been exposed to measles
Because it is highly contagious and potentially dangerous, if you are seeking
care at Torrance Memorial Medical Center for a rash or suspect you and/or
your unvaccinated child have been exposed, please call before entering
the medical campus.
Outpatient Laboratory – Direct Line: 310-517-4646
- Mon-Fri; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Saturday; 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and noon to 3:30 p.m.
- Closed Sunday and holidays
Emergency Department – Direct Line: 310-784-4997
Urgent Care - Torrance – 310-784-3740
- 22411 Hawthorne Boulevard, Torrance, CA 90505
- Mon-Fri ; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Sat-Sun; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Manhattan Beach Urgent Care – 310-939-7873
- 855 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Suite 101, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Mon-Fri; 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Sat-Sun; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.