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2011 measles outbreak traced to Burmese refugee who came to L.A.

May 31, 2012|By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • A Burmese refugee who flew from Malaysia to LAX started an outbreak of measles in 2011, according to the CDC.
A Burmese refugee who flew from Malaysia to LAX started an outbreak of measles… (Michael Robinson Chavez…)

Four people were diagnosed with measles after an outbreak last summer that probably began with a 15-year-old Burmese refugee traveling from Malaysia to Los Angeles, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The teenager arrived in Los Angeles on Aug. 24 and was taken to a hospital with a fever and a rash. He was diagnosed with measles a few days later.

Health officials also diagnosed three other people with measles, including two young passengers on the refugee’s plane and a customs officer who processed him after arrival. The passengers were a 1-year-old L.A. County girl who had not yet completed her vaccination doses, and a 19-month-old girl from Indonesia who had not been vaccinated.

Because the plane carried refugees bound for other locations throughout the U.S., the measles outbreak investigation spanned several states, including California, Nevada, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

The report on the outbreak appears in the new edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It was compiled by members of the Los Angeles County of Public Health, the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, the California Department of Public Health and the CDC. You can read the report online here.

Measles is an infectious disease that can be transmitted by coughs and sneezes. It can lead to hospitalization and even death.

There were 222 measles cases in the U.S. last year, all the result of U.S citizens returning from vacations or from foreign visitors, according to the CDC.

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