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Two cases of measles confirmed in Fresno, Tulare counties, health officials say

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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FRESNO, Calif. – Measles has been detected in Tulare County, public health officials announced Thursday. It follows another case reported in Fresno County earlier this week.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health said a traveler who landed at Fresno Yosemite International Airport on May 19 was infected with measles.

The department warned that anyone who may have been near the infected person at the airport between 8:12 to 9:12 p.m. that day may have been exposed. The traveler was not from Fresno County, and had arrived from Los Angeles.

The case now confirmed in Tulare County was detected in another traveler who also isn’t from the county. It’s the first case of measles in Tulare County since an 18-month-old baby tested positive in 2016.

Public health officials said they are working to trace exposure to the two patients.

Measles is highly contagious, and spreads easily when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, red and watery eyes and tiny white spots inside the mouth.

A rash can also form within three to five days of symptoms – first in the face and then in the body.

The virus can also lead to complications like pneumonia and, more rarely, encephalitis. Around one in five unvaccinated people who contract measles will be hospitalized, and one to three out of every 1,000 children die of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials say measles can be prevented with either an MMR or MMRV vaccine. Those vaccines also protect against mumps, rubella and, in the case of MMRV, chickenpox.

More than 142 cases of measles have been reported in the United States this year. According to health agencies, that is double what was seen in 2023. As of May 25, nine of those cases have been recorded in California.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is KVPR's News Director. Prior to joining the station's news department in 2022, he was a reporter for PBS NewsHour and The Fresno Bee.