The San Francisco Unified School District is urging measles vaccinations for all students and plans to send a letter next week to parents who have opted not to have their child vaccinated.
The letter comes as at least 73 cases of measles have been reported in California as of Monday. They are primarily linked to an exposure at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim in December. Nine of those cases have been reported in the Bay Area, though none in San Francisco, health officials said.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is airborne and also spreads through bodily fluids. It is not serious for most people, but can lead to more severe and even deadly complications in rare cases.
California requires all schoolchildren to be vaccinated, but families can opt out if they sign a personal-belief exemption or have a medical-related reason.
In the past five years, the percentage of kindergartners in California who are up to date on all vaccinations has held steady from 90.7 percent in the 2010-11 school year to 90.4 percent in 2014-15.
In San Francisco, that number has slightly dropped from 88.9 percent of kindergarteners receiving all vaccinations in the 2010-11 school year to 86.4 percent in 2014-15.
Just 1.8 percent of parents have signed personal-belief exemptions for San Francisco kindergarteners this school year, compared to 1.26 percent in the 2010-11 school year.
San Francisco students who need to be vaccinated for measles are urged to contact their local health providers or call the SFUSD Nurse of the Day at (415) 242-2615.