Friday, January 9, 2015

Disneyland Measles Outbreak and What You Need To Know About Measles

ANAHEIM - Many young kids, and adults who are kids at heart, often wish they could take a piece of Disneyland home with them. Well, some people may be taking a piece of Disneyland home with them, and it is not very magical.

 photo Measlesboysideview.jpg 
Photograph of young boy with measles rash. Author unknown. Shown for educational purposes only; no copyright infringement intended. Used under a Creative Commons license.

On Wednesday state health officials announced that a visitor to The Happiest Place on Earth had measles and likely transmitted it to 19 people, so far, who were visiting Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park between December 15 and Dec. 20.

We use the words, "so far," because state health officials expect the number of measles cases to rise. 

Officials say 16 of the cases are in California, two are in Utah, and one is in Colorado. Most of the California cases are in Southern California with nine cases in Orange County.

Disneyland officials say no employees, excuse me, "cast members," have contracted measles and they say they are working with health officials to provide any necessary information.

Wait, What Happened?

It is believed that an infected guest with measles visiting The Disneyland Resort potentially infected a significant amount of people at The Happiest Place on Earth with measles, according to health officials.

First Off, Do Not Panic! 

While it is possible thousands of people have been exposed to measles it is very important to not panic and to put this illness in perspective.

It is very important to understand that if you have been vaccinated there is a very good chance you will NOT get measles

Also very
important to understand that measles in the majority of cases is NOT a life threatening illness. For most people it is an illness that will pass in a couple weeks.

How Can You Get Measles?

According to the Center for Disease Control, measles is very infectious because it spreads through the air.

The CDC notes that, "measles virus can live for up to two hours on a surface or in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses, or mouths, they can become infected. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected."

That time of year at Disneyland is always very crowded, and it would be very simple to catch measles by standing in line next to someone who is infected. In fact, in a very crowded line, or very crowded walkway or store, several people at once can be exposed to measles.

Can Measles Be Prevented?

Yes, if you are vaccinated there is a extraordinarily good chance you will not catch measles, but there will always be a small number of people who can get infected despite being vaccinated. That chance of not getting measles when vaccinated is over 99-percent, according to the CDC. Many of the California measles cases were people who were not vaccinated.

What Are The Signs of Measles?

Signs of measles coming on include, runny nose, red eyes, cough and a high fever. 

What About A Rash?

According to the CDC, "Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104° Fahrenheit."

How Long Does It Last?

Most measles cases last about two weeks.

What Medicine Treats Measles? 

Most measles can be treated by over-the-counter medication.

Bottom Line About Catching Measles

If you and/or your child have been vaccinated for measles chances are very good you will not be affected by measles.

However if you did visit The Disneyland Resort at or around this time do keep a "heads up" for symptoms.

If you do happen to catch measles it will not be very pleasant and there will be a lot of school and work missed, but in most cases it is not life threatening. Understand that most over-the-counter medications can be used to treat measles.

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