ORANGE COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH WARNS OF POSSIBLE MEASLES EXPOSURE
(Santa Ana) - Today Dr. Mark Horton announced that some members of the public might have been exposed to the virus that causes measles when they attended the Season Finale of the Orange County High School of the Arts at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on June 4, 2000, at 7:30 p.m. One person in attendance was subsequently diagnosed with measles, and this was confirmed by the Orange County Public Health Laboratory.
Measles (also sometimes called "rubeola", "red measles", or "ten-day measles") is caused by a virus that spreads very easily by direct contact and by air. "Simply being in the same room with someone who has measles is enough to become infected," Dr. Horton said. The illness usually starts about 10 days after exposure with fever, cough, runny nose, and/or red watery eyes that are sensitive to light. Between 2 - 4 days later, a blotchy rash starts on the face and spreads downward. One in twenty people develop pneumonia, and more rarely, serious, even life-threatening complications can occur.
Most people born in 1956 or earlier are immune because they had the disease, which was very common before the measles vaccine was introduced. People who have had one dose of the measles vaccine (usually given in combination with mumps and rubella vaccines) may not be completely protected against the infection. A second dose of measles vaccine is recommended for all children and college students, and for health care workers and international travelers born in or after 1957.
Persons who attended the event at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on June 4 who develop an illness with high fever (101° F or more), cough, runny nose or red eyes (with or without a rash) should:
STAY HOME and avoid contact with young children
If medical attention is needed, call ahead and inform the facility that you might have measles so that exposure to others can be prevented.
Call Public Health at (714) 834-8180, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM to report your illness.
Recorded information concerning the June 4 exposure is available at all hours by calling (714) 834-7766.
Anyone who thinks they need measles vaccine should discuss this with their doctor. The vaccine is available free of charge for children aged 2-18 years through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program and Orange County Public Health programs. The Orange County Health Referral line at (800) 564-8448 provides information on the locations where free vaccine is available.
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