Sen. Richard Pan Reacts to Measles Case in Nevada County

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NEVADA COUNTY --

One Nevada City community is up against an insidious threat after an unvaccinated student at Yuba River Charter School contracted measles.

Still some parents -- 43 percent of those sending kindergartners there  -- say going without the protections many find in the normal battery of childhood immunizations is worth the risk.

"You need to do a lot more research on what these additives are doing. That's the reason that these parents are deciding not to vaccinate, not because they don't want their kids to be protected," said charter school parent Gina Herbert.

"It's frightening to have a case of measles at a school with such a low vaccination rate," said Doctor and state Senator Richard Pan.

"That is not something we need to have in our community. That is not something we need to have in the state of California," he said.

Pan, who represents Sacramento and Yolo counties, can't believe another Golden State community is facing this situation just one year after more than 100 Californians  -- and many others across the globe -- came down with the measles thanks to an unvaccinated child vacationing at Disneyland.

That incident inspired Pan's effort to rebuild herd or community immunity where it's been lost with SB 277.

It will take effect this fall, requiring all students who aren't home schooled to prove they're vaccinated against childhood diseases when they start kindergarten and again in seventh-grade.

For those who fought to keep California's old personal belief exemption because of autism concerns, Pan has a quick retort.

"There's no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.  That's been completely debunked. The initial study that reported that happened has been shown to be fraudulent," he said.

Many believe the measles isn't deadly, so it's not worse than the risk posed by vaccines.

But Pan says that's just not true.

One woman died from the illness in Washington state last year.

A child in the Bay Area is struggling right now.

"There is a child who had measles who is dying from measles in the state of California from a complication from measles known as SSPE," Pan said.

That's an incurable form of encephalitis that can show up years after the measles itself has gone.

With exposure to the current sick child traced back to March 17, Pan says this week will tell if Yuba River Charter will find itself on a Disneyland-type ride.

"Given the exposure date ... it's probably only in the next few days that we will know who's finally coming down with the symptoms," he said.

"When they were on spring break, wherever they were, wherever they traveled to around the country, they could have been infectious and spreading the disease during spring break" he said.

In response to the recent confirmed case of measles, the Nevada County Public Health Department will be having a drive-thru MMR clinic Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Twin Cities Church.

Twin Cities Church is located at 11726 Rough and Ready Highway in Grass Valley.

MMR immunizations will be given to those 12 months and older.

County health directors are requesting that those participating remain in their cars during the drive-thru clinic and that parents bring their children’s immunization records.

There will be no charge for the immunization.