California measles cases rise to 56; only 4 at same time last year

California officials have confirmed five new cases of measles this week, increasing the state's total to 56 cases this year.
California officials have confirmed five new cases of measles this week, increasing the state's total to 56 cases this year. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California has reported 56 cases of measles this year, after officials from the California Department of Public Health confirmed five more cases of measles this week. Among the new cases, two were intentionally unvaccinated and one had appropriate vaccination.

There were only four cases in the state at the same time last year.

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Only one of the newly reported cases is in Southern California. Orange County officials increased the tally there to 22. The man contracted the disease locally, according to a county spokeswoman.

In Northern California, Alameda County reported its third case of measles this week. A county spokeswoman could not say how the disease was contracted, or provide any identifying information.

And the City of Berkeley – which is located in Alameda County and has its own health department – reported its first case.

Also, Shasta and Monterey counties each reported their first cases of the year. Both were acquired through travel, according to county spokeswomen.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It begins with a fever that lasts a couple of days, and is followed by a cough, runny nose, pink eye and a rash.

Experts recommend that children get their first MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine at one year old or later, and a second dose before kindergarten. But parents can opt not to have their kids vaccinated.

They also recommend vaccinations for people traveling to countries where the disease is widespread.

Do you remember life before the measles vaccine? Let us know. We may include your experience in a future story.

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