First case of measles in two years presents in LA County

LOS ANGELES A pre-school-aged child has been confirmed in Los Angeles County as having contracted measles, health officials reported Monday.

The child, who had not been vaccinated against the disease, represents the first confirmed case of measles in the county since 2006.

The respiratory disease is caused by a virus, and presents with a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red watery eyes. Authorities say it is fatal to about 1 in 2,000 cases, but easily vaccinated against. “The vaccine is potent, long-lasting, but if you haven’t had your vaccine, it’s quite contagious,” Jonathan Fielding, director of public health, told the LA Times.

Earlier this year nearly a dozen children contracted measles during an outbreak in San Diego County.

Fielding said that 94 percent of children in Los Angeles County were immunized against measles, as of the second quarter of 2007. “I think this is just a wake-up call that parents really need to understand how serious measles can be,” he said.

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