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Efforts to stop measles outbreak underway in Orange County

About 24 unvaccinated students have been sent home from Huntington Beach High School for three weeks. (Thinkstock)
About 24 unvaccinated students have been sent home from Huntington Beach High School for three weeks. (Thinkstock)

Efforts to stop the measles outbreak are underway in Orange County, where around two dozen unvaccinated students have been sent home from Huntington Beach High School for three weeks.

A student with measles was on campus from Jan. 6 to Jan. 8, possibly spreading the contagious disease, according to a letter to parents from Matt Zahn, medical director for epidemiology at the Orange County Health Care Agency, the Orange County Register reported

KPCC quoted Huntington Beach High School principal Rocky Murray as saying Friday that 24 students were sent home, including the one who had measles.

“Unimmunized students are excluded from school for 21 days past the date of exposure, during which they need to monitor themselves for signs of measles,” Deanne Thompson, spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Care Agency, said in remarks reported by the Register. “This is to avoid spreading the disease.”

Students are expected to return to school Jan. 29.

Thompson said 16 confirmed cases have cropped up in Orange County in the past month, including six that were not connected to the original Disneyland Resort outbreak in late December. That’s an indication the disease has begun to spread its way throughout the region, the Register reported.

“It is at large in the community now, and particularly infants too young to be immunized, people with other health conditions and, of course, people who aren’t immunized need to be very concerned,” Thompson said. “They really should rethink that and consider getting vaccinated,” she said.

State law requires schoolchildren to get the MMR shots to protect against measles, mumps and rubella. But parents who believe there are links between the vaccines and medical conditions such as autism can get an exemption by signing a personal belief waiver.

 

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