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Hospitals prepare for possible measles outbreak in San Diego

Posted at 4:53 PM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 20:52:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The threat of a measles outbreak continues to creep closer to San Diego.

Around 700 students, teachers, and staff are under quarantine at UCLA and Cal State Los Angeles after being exposed to the virus.

“Measles awareness is more important than ever, the infectious disease community is concerned that we’re basically losing our grip, or our control, on measles in the United States," said Mark Sawyer, MD, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at Rady.

He says the declining vaccination numbers are frustrating.

“Most of my young physician trainees and medical students have never seen a case of measles, but it wasn’t that long ago when it was widespread, and I’m afraid we’re heading back to those times," said Sawyer.

Sawyer says the hospital is prepared.

They have emergency room protocols as well as isolation rooms if a measles patient comes in. The rooms have a special vent to keep air from flowing into the hallway or other places, preventing airborne transmission.

“We're ready for it at the hospital. The concern is whether every doctor’s office in the community is really going to recognize measles quickly and have the facilities to isolate patients. So doctor's offices is one of the places we worry about the virus spreading," said Sawyer.

Sawyer urges families to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible, and for adults to look into whether they need a second dose.