TOURISTS who visited a number of tourist attractions including Disneyland and Universal Studios have been warned that they could have been exposed to measles.
While there hasn't been any reported cases of measles outbreaks yet, it can take up to 21 days for symptoms to appear.
The health warning came after a teenager from New Zealand with measles entered the US and visited the attractions last week.
Public health officials in Los Angeles and Orange counties issued a warning Friday that people may have been exposed to the disease if they were at Disneyland or the Disney California Adventure Park on August 12.
The girl had measles when she arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on August 11 and went to the Desert Palms Hotel in Anaheim, officials said.
After Disneyland, she is believed to have gone to Universal Studios, the TCL Chinese Theatre and Madame Tussauds in Hollywood, and the Santa Monica beach and pier on August 14-15, authorities said.
The girl has since returned to New Zealand, according to Dr. Nichole Quick, Orange County's health care officer.
The California Department of Public Health said it wasn't aware of any measles cases resulting from exposure to the traveller but is continuing to investigate.
However, local health agencies said it can take up to 21 days after exposure for symptoms, such as fever and rash, to appear.
Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County's health officer, said: "Measles is spread by air and by direct contact even before you know have it."
Dr Quick urged anyone who has symptoms to call a health care provider before going to the doctor to avoid additional exposures.
People are also urged to check their records to see if they have been vaccinated or previously had measles.
What are measles?
Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that can be prevented by taking the MMR vaccine.
Because of the medical injection available, cases are relatively uncommon. But instances can spike rapidly if an outbreak occurs.
While the infectious condition often clears up in under two weeks, it can sometimes lead to life-threatening complications.
Viruses can be expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezing.
These can then be inhaled by someone who comes into contact with droplets, which may remain in the air or settle on a surface.
Spending just 15 minutes with someone who has measles can lead to the disease spreading.
The NHS outlines the initial symptoms of measles…
- cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
- sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
- a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
- small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks
In the majority of cases, measles clears within a couple of weeks.
To help alleviate your symptoms during this time, it may be advisable to take some painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.
Drinking plenty of water and getting some rest will also help the body to recover from the virus.
In severe instances, patients may be admitted to hospital for treatment.
Dr Quick said she expects to see more measles cases, generally, among international travellers who visit California because of an increase in the illness overseas.
She said: "We're in general concerned with the outbreaks going on in places in this country as well as internationally.
Measles cases are rising around the world. The number of cases nearly tripled globally during the first seven months of the year compared with the same period in 2018, the World Health Organisation reported this month.
New Zealand and the United States are dealing with their worst outbreaks in decades.
Disneyland officials on Friday said no employees at the theme park were reported to have contracted the illness.
Dr. Pamela Hymel, Disneyland's chief medical officer, said in a statement that health officials said the risk to employees and visitors "is likely low."
The statement said: "We maintain rigorous sanitation standards to protect guests and cast, and earlier this year we strengthened our immunisation program and educational resources for cast members."
Disneyland and adjacent Disney California Adventure Park are major tourist destinations, drawing tens of thousands of visitors a day.
In 2015, a measles outbreak involving Disneyland saw 147 people get sick and spread across the US and into Canada.
As of early this month, Los Angeles County health officials reported 16 measles cases among county residents this year and in addition to the New Zealand girl, ten others among non-residents who travelled through.
You can read more about measles symptoms and treatment here.
Sun Online Travel recently revealed some of the vaccinations you should get before you travel.
Sun Online Travel has contacted the affected attractions for comment.
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