Flu, measles and whooping cough worries in San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Flu, measles and whooping cough worries in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – With the recent diagnoses of measles in San Diego County, health officials are trying to get the word out on how San Diegans can protect themselves and their families.

Of the seven who came down with measles, all were at Disneyland between December 15 and December 20. Two of them were from El Cajon and may have exposed people at the Parkway Plaza Mall. Doctor John Bradley heads up infectious diseases at Rady Children's, and says he's already had calls about possible cases.

"It is so contagious that if there's a child who comes into a doctor's office in a waiting room and is there just for a few minutes, everyone in that waiting room has been exposed and has been potentially infected," Bradley said.

So far there have been no new cases in San Diego, but Bradley can't stress enough how important it is for kids to be vaccinated, as well as those who weren't as a kid. Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and a red bumpy rash that starts at the forehead and moves down the body.

"What we do is we meet them outside of the ER and we walk out to the car and examine them, and if they're sick we escort them through the back way, into a negative pressure isolation room so we can fully examine them," Bradley said.

Another illness is also making a comeback that health officials are keeping an eye on: whooping cough.

"Both California and San Diego are seeing the most number of cases we've seen in probably over 70 years. The state reported over 10,000 cases and certainly we'll go over that number when the final numbers are in," Dr. Eric McDonald with County Health said.

But there's something even more worrisome in the county.

"Well clearly it's the flu. People like to say things like 'Oh well it's just the flu.' Well the flu kills," McDonald said.

McDonald says last year the flu killed 70 people in San Diego, and this year they're seen cases even earlier. Two people have already died. The question is why.

"What's a little concerning is that the virus that's the most prevalent here in San Diego and across the country is the flu HN3 virus, which is part of the vaccine but isn't as well matched this year," McDonald said.

Still, health officials say, just like the measles, getting vaccinated remains your best bet.

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