190 People Possibly Exposed to Measles at Urgent Care Center for Children in Mesa
UPDATE January 29: The state health department estimates more than 1,000 people could have been exposed to measles statewide. Click here for details.
A second case of measles stemming from the outbreak at Disneyland has been confirmed in Maricopa County.
County health officials say the infected, a woman, may have exposed as many as 190 people to measles at Phoenix Children's East Valley Center, an urgent-care facility in Mesa run by Phoenix Children's Hospital.
A spokeswoman for Phoenix Children's tells New Times that federal privacy regulations prevent the hospital from answering questions about the individuals involved, including whether the infected woman is an employee.
"What we can tell you is that 190 individuals at the Phoenix Children's East Valley Center in Mesa were exposed to the measles virus," PCH's Debra Stevens says. "All those individuals have been notified, and those with special health concerns have received instructions for their particular medical situation. Among the 190 people exposed are adults and children who were in the center during that time -- the adults were accompanying their children for services."
According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, the woman who now represents the county's second measles cases had been exposed to a family in Pinal County whose members had confirmed cases of measles.
Health officials have traced the family, and Maricopa County's other confirmed measles case, to the recent outbreak at Disneyland in California.
As of last week, officials in California had counted nearly 60 cases of California residents infected with measles, plus several cases in other states and Mexico, all stemming from the DIsneyland outbreak. Seven people in Arizona reportedly have been infected.
Most of the people infected were not vaccinated, and health officials say the measles vaccine is 99 percent effective.
The Arizona Department of Health Services has found that more parents have not been vaccinating their children in recent years. In 2004, about 1.6 percent of children in kindergarten were not vaccinated because of a parent's religious or personal beliefs. That number was up to 4.7 percent in 2014. In Arizona charter schools, 9 percent of kids are exempted from vaccines because of their parents' beliefs.
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Measles was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000, although sporadic outbreaks still occur. County health officials have told us that a person who isn't vaccinated against measles can get the disease just by being in the same room as an infected person.
As far as the people exposed to measles in Mesa are concerned, the county health department is recommending that any children there who haven't had at least one dose of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine be kept out of school and daycare for the next 21 days. Exposed adults born in 1957 or later who haven't had measles or have not been vaccinated are being asked to avoid going to public places for the next 21 days or, at the very least, wear a mask in public.
People who have had the disease or had the two doses of the MMR vaccine should be protected.
Measles, which comes with such symptoms as fever of up to 105 degrees, a cough, runny nose, and rash, can be fatal.
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