Aug. 24 (UPI) -- A New Zealand teenager may have exposed people in Southern California to the measles virus earlier this month at popular tourist attractions such as Disneyland and Universal Studios, health officials warned.
The girl arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Aug. 11, visited a number of sites over the course of several days, and left from the same airport on Aug. 15, Los Angeles and Orange county health officials announced Friday.
During her visit to California, the tourist stayed at the Desert Palms Hotel in Anaheim. She also visited Disneyland Park and California Adventure in Anaheim (Aug. 12); Universal Studios in Universal City (Aug. 14); and TCL Chinese Theatres, Madame Tussauds, and Santa Monica pier and beach in Los Angeles County (Aug. 15).
"Anyone who may have been at these locations on these dates may be at risk of developing measles for up to 21 days after being exposed," the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement.
The department encouraged those who think they may be at risk of exposure to review whether they are immunized against measles, notify their doctor if pregnant, an infant or have a weakened immune system, and monitor themselves for illness with fever and/or an unexplained rash. Those who exhibit symptoms should stay at home and call a doctor.
"For those who are not protected, measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that initially causes fever, cough, red, watery eyes, and, finally, a rash," said Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County health officer. "Measles is spread by air and by direct contact even before you know have it. The [measles, mumps and rubella] immunization is a very effective measure to protect yourself and to prevent the unintentional spread of this potentially serious infection to others."
The World Health Organization on Aug. 13 said there have been more reported measles cases in the first six months of 2019 than in any year since 2006. The United Nations agency said the 364,808 infections recorded worldwide this year is three times that of the same period last year and follows on-year worldwide increases that began in 2016.