Arizona has become the 6th US state affected by the measles outbreak linked to California Disney Parks, according to Maricopa County health officials. One case linked to the theme parks has also been reported in Mexico.

Measles rash Image/CDC
Measles rash

Maricopa County Department of Public Health has confirmed that a woman in her 50’s tested positive for measles after visiting Disneyland in mid-December. The woman has since recovered. During her infectious period, she had little exposure to Maricopa County residents. Public Health is aware of those individuals whom she may have exposed and those people are being directly contacted to ensure they do not have symptoms related to measles.

“Mitigating factors allowed this person to go unreported for a few weeks. Luckily, we were able to quickly identify the small group of individuals that may have been exposed,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

“However, we are not out of the woods yet,” added England. “California is only a state away and there may be more secondary cases in Maricopa County. This is why we need residents and our healthcare community to be vigilant in identifying measles’ signs and symptoms.”

Measles is a vaccine-preventable viral illness that is the most contagious disease on earth. It can easily spread through the air by coughing and sneezing.  In fact, the measles virus can survive in the air for hours and may be transmitted even after an infected individual is no longer in the room/area.

You should be protected from measles if you were immunized by getting 2 doses of MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine, or if you have previously had the disease. Healthcare providers are required to report suspect cases of measles to Maricopa County Department of Public Health.