We probably have the anti-vaxxers to thank for this one, as a potential measles outbreak could be on the horizon in Sacramento after an unnamed child exposed as many as 300 people to the virus.

Even though the virus measles was declared eliminated back in the year 2000, we are currently seeing measles outbreaks in Florida and Chicago, while as of Monday morning, measles cases have been confirmed in 17 US states. And California is now one of them, as CNN reports that a child with measles may have exposed up to 300 people at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

“Sacramento County Public Health (SCPH) confirms one case of measles in a child who was seen at the UC Davis Medical Center Emergency Department on March 5, 2024, between 12 pm and 5 pm,” according to an official Sacramento County release. “UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento County Public Health (SCPH) and Public Health and Health Departments in surrounding counties are contacting identified patients to assess their immunization status and provide guidance to individuals who were exposed.”  

While measles is known for producing red rashes on the skin, it’s a highly contagious respiratory virus that can live in the air for an hour. Measles can also produce symptoms like a cough, a runny nose, and red or watery eyes, and occasionally diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. A measles infection can be fatal.

Wearing a mask can prevent the spread of measles, but simply having the measles vaccination is the best protection.

The increase in anti-vaccine sentiment across the country has led to the largest ever number of vaccine exemptions for children, according to the CDC. That organization also notes that 92% of US children have gotten the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, though that national target is 95%.

“Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 but is still the most easily transmitted human virus presently in circulation,” Association of State and Territorial Health Officials chief medical officer Dr. Marcus Plescia said in a statement to CNN. “Thankfully, by following established public health principles, Americans can make informed decisions, prevent outbreaks, and protect our communities. Vaccination is the best and safest way to protect children.”

If you’re not immunized or want a booster, the SF Department of Public Health has a list of recommended places to get immunized in San Francisco.

Related: Huge Percentage of Kids Unvaccinated for Measles at Seven Bay Area Schools [SFist]

Image: Coolcaesar via Wikimedia Commons