SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department confirmed a second case of measles Thursday after a community member came into contact with the virus during international travel.
The person in question has been in isolation since June 5th and if you were out an about along State Street last week, you’ll want to pay close attention to this as officials are urging people to be aware of symptoms.
“The measles virus is the most contagious virus that we know of,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Health Officer.
Dr. Ansorg says measles is the only virus that is truly airborne which is why it spreads so fast. “Two hours after the person has left the virus can still be in the air and can still be contagious,” he said.
Prompting officials to examine a critical May 31st timeline involving an unvaccinated Santa Barbara adult exposed to measles outside of the county.
“So four days before the rash actually starts the person who will come down with measles is already contagious,” said Dr. Ansorg.
The Public Health Department is asking people who may have been the following locations on the dates and times indicated to check whether they are immune and to consult with their primary care provider if they may be at risk:
Friday, May 31, 2019
• 12 – 3 p.m. | Norvell Bass Cleaners, 3323 State St., Santa Barbara
• 2 – 5 p.m. | Macy’s, 3805 State St., Santa Barbara
• 3 – 5:30 p.m. | Skin Deep Spa, 3405 State St., Santa Barbara
• 6 – 10 p.m. | Helena Bakery / Les Marchands, 131 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara
• 8 – 11 p.m. | Santa Barbara Wine Therapy, 732 State St., Santa Barbara
“If somebody is vaccinated or had the disease in childhood or something they won’t get it that’s the good news,” said Dr. Ansorg. The County Health Officer says we can all protect ourselves with vaccination.
But for some community members, it’s all a bit unnerving.
"It is scary to think that these are changing times and this is an effect of it,” said Molly Morrison, a Santa Barbara resident.
In general, just get your vaccination and that is it… that’s a little bit scary,” said a couple of Santa Barbara Wine Therapy patrons.
Public health officials say there is no reason to panic since the two confirmed cases in Santa Barbara County are travel related.
Common measles symptoms can mimic the flu and if you’re at risk you’re urged to check your immunization records and consult with a doctor.
“Runny nose burning itching eyes sometimes a little bit of a sore throat or cough,” said Dr. Ansorg, explaining what can appear seven to 21 days after exposure.
Dr. Ansorg says one sick person can affect a dozen people so it’s important to call ahead to any medical facility before going there to tell them that you may have been exposed to measles so that the facility can take measures to protect other patients and visitors.
We spoke with management at several of the businesses involved and they’re working closing with County Health and taking precautions to street the importance to customer safety. We’re told they immediately had staff meetings notifying their employees of the timeline.
A second person has been diagnosed with measles in Santa Barbara County according to public health officials.
The diagnosed person is an unvaccinated adult who had reported recently traveling abroad.
The person is local to Santa Barbara County. They have been in isolation since Wednesday.
Anyone who is not immune to measles and who visited the sites below at the dates and times may be at risk of developing measles due to exposure and should watch for symptoms of the illness.
Friday, May 31
- 12 – 3 p.m. | Norvell Bass Cleaners, 3323 State St., Santa Barbara
- 2 – 5 p.m. | Macy’s, 3805 State St., Santa Barbara
- 3 – 5:30 p.m. | Skin Deep Spa, 3405 State St., Santa Barbara
- 6 – 10 p.m. | Helena Bakery / Les Marchands, 131 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara
- 8 – 11 p.m. | Santa Barbara Wine Therapy, 732 State St., Santa Barbara
Common symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash, which can appear 7 to 21 days after the exposure.
If you develop symptoms you should contact your doctor right away. Health officials say it's very important to call ahead to any medical facility to tell them that you may have been exposed to measles so that the facility can take measures to prepare for an exposed person's arrival.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department says people who received two doses of measles vaccine are considered to be protected against measles. Anyone who is unvaccinated, as well as those with weakened immune systems, are advised to review the sites and times listed above.
Public health officials say community members should locate their measles immunization records and work with their healthcare provider to determine if a measles vaccination is necessary.
This is the second confirmed case of measles in Santa Barbara County. A man in his 20s was diagnosed with measles in May. That was the first confirmed case in the county since 2016.