Many of you have probably heard to recent reports of a measles outbreak in the United States. We at Bumps N' Bruises Pediatric Urgent Care thought the information below might be helpful in understanding the symptoms and risks for transmission of the measles virus.
Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness. It begins with a prodrome of fever, cough, coryza (runny nose), conjunctivitis (pink eye), lasting 2-4 days prior to rash onset. Measles can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis, and death. Measles is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing; infected people are contagious from 4 days before their rash starts through 4 days afterwards. After an infected person leaves a location, the virus remains viable for up to 2 hours on surfaces and in the air.
The United States is experiencing a large multi-state measles outbreak that started in California in December 2014 and has spread to six additional states and Mexico. The initial confirmed case-patients reported visiting Disneyland Resort Theme Parks in Orange County, CA, from December 17 through December 20, 2014. From December 28, 2014, through January 21, 2015, 51 confirmed cases of measles linked to this outbreak have been reported to CDC, 42 from California and 9 from six other states (3 in UT, 2 in WA, 1 in OR, 1 in CO, 1 in NE, and 1 in AZ). In addition to the U.S. cases, one case was reported from Mexico in an unvaccinated child who visited Disneyland Resort Theme Parks on December 17 and December 20, 2014. At this time, no source case for the outbreak has been identified, but it is likely that a traveler (or more than one traveler) who was infected with measles overseas visited one or both of the Disney parks in December during their infectious period.