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Measles cases continue to increase

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The California Department of Public Health, in its April 11 report, announced that the number of confirmed measles cases in the state had risen to 56. In 2013, the entire state of California had just four reported measles cases for the same period. Orange County is the center of the largest outbreak and reports 22 cases for 2014.

The state of Washington has had 12 confirmed cases of measles thus far in 2014. Six of the cases are linked to the measles epidemic just across the border in British Columbia. The remaining cases appear to be tied to a patient who was contagious for several days in March and visited a number of eating and drinking establishments in the San Juan area. The first five cases are among his friend and family. The latest case, announced April 11, was a patron of an establishment at the same time as the original patient.

In British Columbia, Fraser Health announced a total of 375 measles cases on April 9. The public health authority stated that the second wave of infections appeared to be over. The statement is unclear if this means the end of the epidemic.

Also on April 9, British Columbia's Health Minister, Terry Lake, announced that he was replacing the board chair of the Fraser Health Authority. The three and a half year tenure of David Mitchell in that position came to an end as the province was conducting a thorough strategic review of the agency. Unlike public health authorities in many parts of the United States, Fraser Health also operates hospitals and other healthcare providers. The review is examining performance in those units of the agency.

In the Phoenix, AZ area, an alert was issue April 9 for a confirmed case of measles. From March 29 – 31, the patient was contagious and may have exposed others to the viral illness at the airport, an LDS chapel and a bread store in Scottsdale.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control shows 108 measles cases nationally from Jan. 1 through April 5, 2014. There is often a lag in case reporting between the states and the CDC. The current national total is the third highest in the last six years. There were 220 total measles cases in all of 2011 and 189 in all of 2013.

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