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According to the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department, an adult resident of the county has contracted the contagious measles virus.

After coming back to the United States from traveling abroad over the holidays, the unvaccinated adult began showing symptoms beginning Jan. 3. The adult visited the Twin Cities Community Hospital emergency department in Templeton on Jan. 8 and 9. The department is currently investigating all cases of measles in the county and determining if this patient may have exposed the virus to other individuals.

“Measles is a serious disease that can be easily prevented,” County of San Luis Obispo Deputy Health Officer Dr. Christy Mulkerin said. “Vaccination is the best way to protect against measles. Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are approximately 97 percent effective at preventing disease in exposed persons.”

Measles can be spread through the air from person to person through coughing and sneezing with symptoms generally appearing about seven to 14 days after a person is infected. Initial symptoms are high fever, runny nose, cough and red, watery eyes. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth. A rash of tiny, red spots will break out starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body.

People with measles are contagious for about nine days, including four days before and four days after the rash.

Measles can spread quickly in communities where people are not vaccinated. Therefore, the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department recommends residents to check in with their doctors on their measles vaccination status.

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