You can expect to have a lot of fun on a trip to Disneyland, but most people wouldn’t expect to contract a case of the measles.
According to a report from NPR, 9 people who visited the theme park in Anaheim California during December of last year have contracted measles. Two of the patients are from Utah while the rest all reside in California.
“If you have symptoms, and believe you may have been exposed, please contact your health care provider,” Dr. Ron Chapman, CDPH director and state health officer, said in a statement. “The best way to prevent measles and its spread is to get vaccinated.”
“It’s our speculation that there was an [infected] international visitor at one of the parks, and that person or persons was able to infect a lot of people,” California chief of vaccine-preventable diseases Kathleen Harriman said.
Measles is very infectious because it spreads through the air, so you can catch it by, say, standing in line next to someone who is infected. Vaccination eliminated measles in the United States in 2000. “So all the cases of measles in the United States originate with an imported case,” Harriman said, “even though there can be transmission once one of those cases gets here.”
The California cases are in Alameda, Orange, Pasadena, Riverside and San Diego. The patients range in age from 8 months to 21 years. Of the seven California cases, six had not been vaccinated. Two were too young to have been vaccinated; the first of two recommended measles vaccine doses is typically given at 1 year of age.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan said that health officers will quarantine people who have come into contact with those infected, especially those who are at high risk of developing disease, “to make sure that contact stays home and away from other people to make sure that person does not infect others.”
The first symptoms that appear from measles include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. After a few days, a red rash appears on the face and then travels to the rest of the body. People can infect others with the disease days before the rash is present.