Yolo County reports 2 measles cases, first since 2015. Both were in unvaccinated children

Two Yolo County children were diagnosed this month with measles, marking the county’s first cases in nearly a decade, county officials said Friday.

The children recently returned from international travel and became ill with the disease, according to a news release by Yolo County health officials. The patients were not vaccinated for the disease and are recovering at home with mild symptoms, the county’s health agency said.

Officials said the children visited a Kaiser Permanente hospital and pediatric clinic while contagious with the disease four total times over the span of a week:

Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento’s emergency department, 6600 Bruceville Road, between 3:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. June 12 and between 10:20 p.m. June 14 and 2:10 a.m. June 15.

Kaiser Permanente Downtown Commons pediatric clinic, 501 J St., between 10:23 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. June 12 and between 10:48 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday.

Kaiser Permanente notified patients and employees who were in close proximity to the infected patients of their potential exposure, according to the release. County officials advise anyone who was at the facilities at the same time as the children to contact Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento County Public Health’s communicable disease program at 916-875-5881, or Yolo County Public Health’s communicable disease program at 530-490-3953.

The last confirmed case of measles in Yolo County had been in 2015, county officials said. The two recent cases mark California’s tenth and 11th cases in 2024.

In May, at least 200 people were exposed to measles after an infected child visited UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

According to data from the California Department of Public Health, measles cases are increasing after four consecutive years of relatively low case numbers. The state saw four cases of the disease in 2023, while 2020 had five diagnoses. There were no diagnosed cases of measles in the state 2021 or 2022, which was also the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Measles symptoms typically develop eight to 12 days after infection. Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. This can further develop about three to five days later into a rash that begins at the top of the head and spreads downwards, health officials say.

The airborne disease is typically spread through contact with the bodily fluids of other infected patients or breathing the same air as someone with measles, according to the World Health Organization.

Measles can be prevented with two doses of a measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR) or a measles, mumps, rubella, varicella vaccine. They have been proven to be highly effective at preventing the disease’s spread — two doses are 97% effective against the disease, and even one dose is 93% effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yolo County’s health officer, Dr. Aimee Sisson, in a prepared statement said the latest measles case “highlights the risk of getting infected with measles during international travel, especially if you aren’t vaccinated.”

Sisson was not immediately available to answer further questions about the recent cases.

Kaiser Permanente provided an emailed statement, “strongly urging” all parents to ensure children are up to date on vaccinations.