Measles: Health officials encourage public to get vaccinated

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County health officials are asking for the public's help to fight the measles outbreak and encouraging more people to get vaccinated right now.

The call to action comes 35 days into the new year, as the number of measles cases has already doubled from last year in L.A. County. Nationwide, the number of cases is on track to beat the 2014 record of more than 1,600.

Interim Health Officer for L.A. County Jeffrey Gunzenhauser said the only way to stop or slow down the outbreak is to increase vaccination rates.

Overall, L.A. County has a vaccination rate of 98 percent, but there are pockets where the numbers are lower. Experts say that is where the disease has the opportunity to spread.

In 2015, there have been 21 cases in L.A. County compared to 10 in 2014. Officials are reporting 92 cases nationwide. Dr. Gunzenhauser said the truth is, there are probably many more cases not yet reported.

"To end this outbreak, we need to do more and we need help. I encourage everyone to review their vaccination status, and if needed, get the vaccine now," Gunzenhauser said. "Those of you who are in positions to make decisions about vaccines for others, review the scientific evidence, be informed about the outbreak, and make a decision that's based on evidence and provide vaccines to those who need it."

Gunzenhauser said the 2014 law requiring health care providers to sign off on personal exemptions has slowed down the exemption rate, but he wants to see more compliance.

He also said the first four days of the infection before the rash develops looks like the flu, so it can be hard to detect. If you suspect that you've been infected with the measles, you're urged to contact your health care provider immediately so they can make preparations.

Health officials from across the state have been consistently reporting new cases of the measles. The latest update comes from Ventura County, where 10 new cases were confirmed on Wednesday. Two of those cases are associated with the Disneyland outbreak, officials said.

Those infected range in age from 13 months to 59 year old.

Authorities are warning people who have visited the following locations during the specified dates and times to be on the lookout for possible symptoms:

CitiBank, 430 Arneill Rd., Camarillo
Monday, Jan. 12 - Wednesday, Jan. 15

Century RiverPark 16 Theaters, 2766 Seaglass Way, Oxnard
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 7:10 p.m. showing of the movie, Selma

Carl's Jr., 2301 N. Oxnard Blvd., corner of Vineyard, Oxnard
Tuesday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.

Albertson's, 920 N. Ventura Rd., Oxnard,
Wednesday, Jan. 21, 10 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.

Little Explorers Preschool, 5165 Cochran St., Simi Valley

Cal State Channel Islands, 1 University Dr., Camarillo

Toppers, 2701 Peninsula Rd., Oxnard
Thursday, Jan. 22, 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Andrea's Seafood, 1449 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura
Saturday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m.- 10 p.m.

El Torito, 1720 E. Ventura Blvd., Oxnard
Sunday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Vons, 1291 S. Victoria Ave., Oxnard
Monday, Jan. 26, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

BG Restaurant, 428 S. A St., Oxnard
Tuesday, Jan. 27, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

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