Measles Outbreak Grows in L.A.’s Orthodox Jewish Community Despite California’s Strict New Vaccination Law

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California's strict new vaccination law failed to prevent a new outbreak of measles that has infected 20 people, most of them in western Los Angeles County. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

California's strict new vaccination law failed to prevent a new outbreak of measles that has infected 20 people, most of them in western Los Angeles County. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Six months after California’s strict vaccine law took effect, a measles outbreak has infected 20 people, most of them in Los Angeles County, prompting a search for others who may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus.

Most of the patients live in western areas of the county, including L.A.’s Westside, the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Fernando Valley. Santa Barbara and Ventura counties each reported one case.

At least 15 of the 18 L.A. County patients either knew one another or had a clear social connection, said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, interim health officer for the L.A. County Department of Public Health. None of the 18 could provide proof of vaccination, he said.

Gunzenhauser said the first person was diagnosed in early December, followed by 16 cases in the last three weeks of 2016, and then one more case last week.

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