In a follow-up to an earlier report, Colorado health officials announced that an individual who traveled to the California theme park in December has tested positive for measles.

El Paso County Public Health has been notified of an individual who traveled to Colorado Springs in late December and tested positive for measles at the state laboratory on January 7, 2015.

coloradoThe individual tested positive for measles after traveling to Disneyland in California in mid-December, where public health officials believe the patient was exposed to the virus. At least 9 other cases of measles have recently been identified in other states with travel to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park during mid-December.

The patient was hospitalized at Penrose Hospital, 2222 N. Nevada Ave., in Colorado Springs. The individual, who is no longer contagious, has been discharged and made a full recovery. Visitors and patients present in the following areas at Penrose Hospital may have been exposed on January 3, 2015: Emergency Department and CAT scan suite from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the fourth floor from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Local news reports say that at least 70 hospital employees and 200 patients, not including visitors, may have been exposed.

“While most people are protected against measles, unvaccinated patients and visitors who were at Penrose Hospital may be at risk for developing measles. These people should contact their health care provider if they experience a rash and fever,” said Dr. Bill Letson, El Paso County Public Health Medical Director.

Penrose Hospital is notifying potentially exposed patients. Penrose Hospital and El Paso County Public Health are contacting people directly exposed to the individual but the measles virus is highly contagious and other exposures may exist. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is also notifying health care providers in Colorado through a health alert network (HAN) alert. The last case of measles in El Paso County was in 1992.

Measles rash Image/CDC
Measles rash

Measles symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes, and a rash that usually begins on the face 2-4 days after the onset of other symptoms and typically spreads downward to the rest of the body. Complications of measles include pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation).  In unvaccinated pregnant women, measles can also cause miscarriage or premature birth. There is no specific treatment for measles. People with measles need bed rest, fluids, and control of fever. Patients with complications may need treatment specific to their problem.

The incubation period for measles ranges from 7 – 21 days. People who were exposed to this person could be at risk for measles as late as January 24.  Measles virus is spread when a person sneezes or coughs and sprays droplets in the air or on surfaces.  Anyone who suspects they may have measles is urged to call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency room. Special arrangements can be made for you to be evaluated while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection.

“We urge everyone to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations. Two doses of measles vaccine is more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles,” said Dr. Bill Letson, El Paso County Public Health’s Medical Director.