Bay Area

Bay Area doctor weighs in on measles outbreak

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) -- With measles on the rise in California and in many states across the nation, Bay Area doctors are preparing themselves for the potential of another outbreak.

Doctors at Golden Gate Pediatrics are scrambling to read the health advisories being issued by the state on the measles.

Most of the staff at the clinic have never seen a case themselves, but Dr. Eileen Aicardi, who's been a pediatrician for more than 40 years, says it's a disease that she used to see back in the 1970s.

“It is not a benign childhood illness,” said Dr. Eileen Aicardi. “One in 1,000 children died and there was another large group of children that had severe complications necessitating.”

It's a disease that western doctors thought they'd seen the last of because of vaccinations, but then questions were raised about the vaccines connection to autism and vaccination rates dropped.

“It was shown to be a totally fraudulent report but against international attention and has done irreparable harm in my opinion,” she said.

Now there are several measles hotspots around the world, including the pacific northwest. So far California has seen 16 confirmed cases in the first three months of this year, more than all of last year.

Locally, San Francisco has reported one case, as did Santa Cruz County, while San Mateo and Santa Clara counties reported two.

Now when a parent brings a sick child to Golden Gate Pediatrics with a high fever and a rash, rather than go through the waiting room, they are brought into the back door straight to a nearby exam room to help limit exposure.

“We cannot take the chance that you have a very sick child sitting next to a family with a newborn,” Aicardi said.

If it turns out that patient is suspected of having contracted the measles, they could be shown out of the exam room and that door is then close behind them and no other patients are allowed inside this room for at least several hours.

That's because measles is so contagious it can live in the air for up to up two hours after a sick person leaves.

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