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Disneyland visitors also exposed in December

January 7, 2015 (El Cajon)--Two San Diego siblings may have exposed others to measles at Parkway Plaza Mall in El Cajon on Dec. 29, 2014 the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced today.

The two individuals are among seven California residents recently diagnosed with measles after visiting Disneyland between Dec. 15 and 20.

Shoppers and employees may have been exposed to the virus if they were present at the mall on Dec. 29 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., especially in or around GameStop, Sunglasses Hut and the carousel in the mall. There is no current risk for measles exposure at these locations.

“Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread easily by coughing, sneezing, or coming in contact with an infected person,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer. “Anyone who was at Disneyland or the Parkway Plaza Mall on these dates should watch for symptoms and contact their healthcare provider by telephone first, if they show any signs of the disease.”

Measles develops seven to 21 days after exposure. Early symptoms include cough, runny nose, and red eyes. The distinctive red rash usually appears one to four days after early symptoms appear. A person is considered contagious four days before the rash appears. The rash begins on the face and head then proceeds downward and outward to the hands and feet. It fades in the same order it began, from head to feet.  

“Measles is spread through the air and is very infectious to persons who are not vaccinated, including infants under the age of 12 months who are too young to receive the first dose,” said Wooten. “The best way to prevent measles is by getting the measles vaccine.”

All persons born in 1957 or after should have documentation of at least one dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine or other evidence of immunity to measles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of the vaccine: the first at 12 months of age, and the second between ages 4 - 6.

Complications from measles are more common in children younger than 5 years old and adults 20 years and older. Complications can include diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia. Death can occur from severe complications and the risk is higher among younger children and adults. There is no treatment for measles. Bed rest, fluids and fever control are recommended. People with complications may need treatment for their specific problem.

For more information about measles, other vaccine-preventable diseases and the shots that protect against them, please call the HHSA Immunization Branch.


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