These people visited Disneyland in Anaheim, California, or Disney California Adventure in Orange County, California, between December 15 and 20, and it’s speculated that a person with the illness was there at the time. Those with confirmed measles cases are from five different areas of California, and six of the seven people who contracted the disease had not been vaccinated against it. They range in age from 8-months-old to 21-years-old.
The two Utah siblings who contracted measles visited Disneyland the week before Christmas. Both are under 18 years old. Utah health officials say they are concerned that the two may have exposed others to the disease since it is highly contagious and can be spread through coughing or sneezing. Infected droplets can live on surfaces for several hours.
Joseph Miner, MD and executive director of the Utah County Health Department, warned that more people may become sick and that “this could easily turn from two people into dozens, even hundreds.”
Most people make a fast recovery from measles, but for some there can be serious complications including pneumonia, and the potentially fatal encephalitis (swelling of the brain). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms normally appear within one to two weeks following exposure. Those symptoms can include runny nose, watering eyes, coughing, and a high fever. After four days, a red rash that lasts for up to a week appears on the face and body.
The CDC says that measles is making a comeback because many parents are opting out of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine which can prevent these common childhood illnesses. California is not the only state to see a resurgence of measles. There have been many cases throughout the country in the past year, with notable outbreaks in Ohio and New York.