FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2015, file photo, a pamphlet educating parents about measles is posted on a bulletin board at a pediatric clinic in Greenbrae, Calif. Health officials say the number of confirmed measles cases in western Washington has risen to 30, with nine more suspected cases .  Clark County Public Health said Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, that 29 of the cases are in Southwest Washington and one confirmed case is in King County, home to Seattle.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Fresno County health officials have confirmed two cases of measles in one home and are encouraging the public to get their vaccinations, especially before traveling to other parts of the world. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

Two cases of measles have been reported in California’s Central Valley, prompting local officials to remind people to get their children vaccinated against the highly contagious disease.

The infections were confirmed in one home in Fresno County. County health officials said they are working with their counterparts at the state level and in neighboring Madera County to contact individuals who may have been affected, but at this point believe the risk to the public is low.

“These cases are a reminder of the important role vaccination plays in protecting society,” said Dr. Fresno County Health Commissioner Rais Vohra said in a statement. “The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from measles is to get vaccinated. We encourage all parents to please work with your pediatrician or contact your primary care provider to help your child get information about vaccinations.”

It’s especially important that people get vaccinated before traveling to other places in the world where measles is common, Fresno County health officials said.

Measles is highly contagious and can cause serious illness – especially in children under the age of 5. Common symptoms include cough, runny nose, rash, high fever and red, watery eyes.

About 1 in 5 people in the U.S. who get measles will need to be hospitalized, and 1 in 1,000 infected people will develop brain inflammation, which can lead to brain damage, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Out of 1,000 people infected with measles, 1 to 3 will die, “even with the best care,” the CDC says.

Health authorities recommend that the measles vaccine be given in two doses: the first at 12 to 15 months of age and the second at 4 to 6 years of age.

The last significant measles outbreak in California occurred in late 2014 and early 2015, when an outbreak linked to Disneyland infected at least 131 Californians and cases spread to seven other states, Canada and Mexico.

Declining childhood vaccination rates likely helped fuel the outbreak, officials said. California lawmakers responded by tightening the requirement that schoolchildren receive vaccinations as a condition of admission to public or private schools — eliminating the ability of parents to seek religious or other personal religious exemptions for their children.

Within a few years of the law’s implementation, vaccination rates rose among California preschoolers.

Health officials have expressed concern about children falling behind on routine vaccinations due to delayed medical check-ups during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a study published by the CDC in January found no overall decline in coverage related to the pandemic among children born in 2018 and 2019.

Nevertheless, the study reported a decline in vaccinations among children living in poverty and in rural areas — with coverage falling by 4 to 5 percentage points during the pandemic.

“Knowledge was typically higher among privately insured children than among children with other insurance or no insurance,” the study said.

The past decade was the year with the highest number of measles cases nationwide in 2019. The 1,274 cases reported that year were the most since 1992, and most of them occurred in unvaccinated people.

A notable related outbreak was reported in New York that year, with ongoing measles transmission “in large and close-knit Orthodox Jewish communities,” which reported 934 cases that year, according to a report released by the CDC.

This outbreak threatened the “eradication status” of measles in the United States – a term epidemiologists use to describe when a disease is absent, in terms of continuous transmission, for more than a year.

Federal officials declared measles eliminated in the United States in 2000 thanks to high vaccination rates, but outbreaks have occurred periodically since then.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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