A New Zealand teenager who visited Disneyland, Universal Studios, Hollywood tourist hotspots and the beach this month had measles and may have exposed others, public health agencies announced yesterday.
The Orange County Health Care Agency warned anyone who had been at Desert Palms Hotel between August 11 and 15, or at Disneyland California on August 12, to check if they were vaccinated, watch for symptoms, and stay at home should symptoms appear.
It said the infected person, a teenage girl, had visited other places throughout Los Angeles County while infectious.
The girl has since returned to New Zealand, said Dr. Nichole Quick, Orange County's health care officer.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service warned passengers yesterday about an infected person on a Los Angeles-to-Auckland flight last Saturday.
They said the infected person was an Auckland resident who was on flight NZ001 which arrived at 5.30am on August 17.
Disneyland officials yesterday said no employees at the theme park were reported to have contracted the illness. Dr Pamela Hymel, Disneyland's chief medical officer, said in a statement that health officials said the risk to employees and visitors "is likely low."
In 2015, a measles outbreak involving Disneyland sickened 147 people and spread across the US and into Canada.
The latest warning comes after a spike of 100 new cases in Auckland within a week, with confirmed cases in the city now nudging 600 for the year making it the worst outbreak in two decades.
The Health Ministry has been seeking urgent advice on how to tackle the extremely infectious and potentially deadly virus.
ARPHS Public Health Medicine Specialist Dr Maria Poynter said any passengers on the flight who started to feel unwell should stay at home, phone their doctor and avoid going out to seek medical help.
"If you feel unwell, please don't just turn up. It is important to call first, because measles is highly infectious and you could infect others in the waiting room," Dr Poynter said.
• Measles is a highly-infectious viral illness spread by contact with respiratory secretions through coughing and sneezing.
• People are infectious from five days before the onset of the rash to five days after the rash starts.
• Infected persons should stay in isolation - staying home from school or work - during this time.
• The best protection from measles is to have two MMR vaccinations. MMR is available from your family practice and is free to eligible persons.
• People are considered immune if they have received two doses of MMR vaccine, have had a measles illness previously, or were born before 1969.
• Anyone believing they have been exposed to measles or exhibiting symptoms, should not go to the ED or after hours' clinic or general practitioner. Instead, call the GP first.
- RNZ, with AP