Last week I wrote about the 5 measles cases that we had identified as part of the nationwide Disneyland outbreak.  Four of the AZ cases were among an unvaccinated Pinal County family that had visited Disneyland.  This week over 1000 contacts were identified among our now 7 measles cases.  Here’s a quick summary:

  • One of the kids from the original unvaccinated family had been to a couple of urgent care facilities (while sick with measles), exposing 18 kids to the illness.  Many of them were less than 1 year old (the first MMR is given at 1-year), and 13 of the 18 kids were completely unvaccinated.
  • A Maricopa County woman developed measles after being exposed by the initial family.  She may have exposed individuals at the Phoenix Children’s East Valley Center  over a two day period. Phoenix Children’s and Maricopa County Public Health are following up with the families of the 195 children who may have been exposed.
  • Pinal County Public Health confirmed a 5th case of measles in a man who was exposed to the family of four other cases identified last week residing in the Kearny area.  Pinal County has contacted the places of business where the patient went and they’re helping the health department by placing signs at their entrances to inform customers and employees that they could have been exposed if they were in these locations during specific timeframes.  Pinal County is also publicizing the times and places in hopes of finding contacts.

We and the county health departments are continuing to follow protocols for measles investigation to reduce the chance of disease spread.  For example, Maricopa County has recommended that all children who were exposed and haven’t had at least one dose of MMR vaccine not go to school/daycare for the 21 day incubation period (about Feb. 12) to avoid potential spread.  Exposed adults who were born in 1957 or later and who haven’t had measles or at least one measles vaccine are being advised not go to work or other public places for the same 21 day incubation period.

Anyone who may have been in contact with a measles case will be contacted to determine whether they have immunity or if they need to be on the watch for symptoms. Many of the susceptible contacts have been offered immune globulin (IG).  The immune globulin won’t prevent them from getting measles but can lessen the symptoms if it’s administered within 6 days.

Epidemiology and nursing staff here and at county health departments are making sure healthcare providers are on the lookout for measles cases and rapidly report any suspect cases to public health for follow up and testing.  And of course, we’ll continue to remind folks to get vaccinated so they can protect themselves and their community from future outbreaks.

This is a critical point in this outbreak.  If the public health system and medical community are able to identify every single susceptible case and get them into isolation, we have a chance of stopping this outbreak here.  However, if we miss any potential cases and some of them go to a congregate setting with numerous susceptible contacts, we could be in for a long and protracted outbreak.