With the measles scare spreading across the state, Madera County Public Health is in the middle of an investigation following an infected Ventura County resident’s visit to the central valley.
This man traveled to Fresno, visiting the maternity ward twice at Fresno Community Regional Center (third and fourth floors central) between Thursday, Jan. 22, at 9 p.m. through Sunday, Jan. 25 at 9 p.m. On Sunday, he shopped at WinCo Foods on Kings Canyon and Peach (6:30-9:30 p.m.) and Fashion Fair Mall - Build a Bear and Disney stores (11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.). He was later admitted into a hospital in Ventura County.
“Even though we have no reported cases in Madera County,” Public Information Officer for Madera County Public Health Gilda Zarate-Gonzalez said, “we are doing our due diligence and are working with businesses and the hospital, as well as the media to alert the public. It’s important to know that exposure could only happen at those times and dates.”
Measles is a highly contagious airborne respiratory disease, generally spread through coughing and sneezing. After contracting the virus, symptoms show up about 7-14 days later. Initial symptoms are fever with temperatures as high as 105, tiredness, dry cough, runny nose, and an eye infection. Then, three-to-five days later, the rash begins around the ears and hairline, spreading to the face and rest of the body.
“Our role is to educate the public and make sure the vaccinations are available,” Zarate-Gonzalez continued. “As public health officials, we always recommend that people, no matter what age, are up-to-date with their shots.”
The county recommends a series of two doses of MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine, which will provide 99% protection. Typically, at one-year-of-age, a child receives the first MMR shot, and after waiting 28 days, the second shot is given. However, for anyone who has only received one dose, it is highly recommended that they receive the second MMR shot.
“Contact your healthcare provider for further instruction and stay home,” Zarate-Gonzalez said. “Don’t go to the emergency room where you will expose others. Do not use public transportation and avoid public areas.”
The county public health department has sent health alerts to schools, childcare providers and centers. Any infected Madera County resident who is travels and seeks healthcare out-of-county would be reported to the jurisdiction where they reside.
It was in late December of last year that an outbreak of measles at Disneyland in Anaheim was first discovered. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from Jan. 1-30, 2015, 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles. Most of these cases were linked to Disneyland.