Health officials say she recently traveled to Vietnam where there was a widespread Measles outbreak, and that's possibly where she contracted the disease.
A woman diagnosed with measles went to the opening screening of Avengers: Endgame in Orange County. California public health officials have issued a warning that she may potentially have infected hundreds of people. The woman attended the midnight screening of the Avengers blockbuster at the AMC Dine-In Fullerton 20 on Thursday from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m, the Orange County Health Care Agency said. The agency also added everyone who was in the building, not just the auditorium, may have been exposed to the virus, according to CNN. The woman is said to have gone to an emergency room hours after the screening, where she was diagnosed with measles.
Health officials say she recently traveled to Vietnam where there was a widespread measles outbreak, and that's possibly where she contracted the disease. She is now in voluntary quarantine at her home in Orange County and officials are now trying to identify anyone who might have been exposed at the AMC theater in Fullerton. Hers is the first confirmed case of measles in the county this year.
Measles can't be treated or cured. It is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes or if someone comes into direct contact or shares germs by touching the same objects or surfaces. Some of the symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes and a rash of red spots. Most likely, it is the rash that indicates it's measles.
According to Dr. Julia S. Sammons, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and medical director of the Department of Infection Prevention and Control at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, once a person has measles, about 90% of close contacts who are receptive to it will develop the disease. Since the disease was eliminated in 2000, measles cases have surpassed the highest number on record, reports CNN.
There have been 681 cases of measles reported across 22 states. In 2014, there were 667 reported cases of the virus which was the highest since the elimination. The states that reported measles cases are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
Most cases of measles previously reported emerged in communities with low rates of vaccination against the virus, according to public health officials. "I do believe that parents' concerns about vaccines lead to undervaccination, and most of the cases that we're seeing are in unvaccinated communities," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, said in February at a congressional hearing about measles outbreaks.
"However, there are pockets of people who are vaccine-hesitant," Messonnier said. "Outbreaks of measles occur when measles gets into these communities of unvaccinated people," she said. "The only way to protect against measles is to get vaccinated." The CDC mentioned that the outbreaks are linked to travelers who were infected and brought measles back from other countries, including Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines.