SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A New Zealand teenager who visited Disneyland and other Southern California tourist spots last week brought along more than just her luggage. She brought measles.
Public health officials in Los Angeles and Orange counties issued a warning Friday that people may have been exposed to the disease if they were at Disneyland or the Disney California Adventure Park on Aug. 12.
The girl had measles when she arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Aug. 11 and went to the Desert Palms Hotel in Anaheim, officials said.
After Disneyland, she is believed to have gone to Universal Studios, the TCL Chinese Theatre and Madame Tussauds in Hollywood, and the Santa Monica beach and pier on Aug. 14-15, authorities said.
The girl has since returned to New Zealand, said Dr. Nichole Quick, Orange County’s health care officer.
The California Department of Public Health said it wasn’t aware of any measles cases resulting from exposure to the traveler but is continuing to investigate.
However, local health agencies said it can take up to 21 days after exposure for symptoms, such as fever and rash, to appear.
“Measles is spread by air and by direct contact even before you know have it,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County’s health officer.
Related: Treatment, preventative care and vaccinations for measles
Treatment, preventative care and vaccinations for measles across the world
A child receives a vaccination against measles by a family physician on April 16, 2018 in the Romanian capital, Bucharest.
Measles still claims young lives in Romania, where nearly 40 children have died in an outbreak that many blame on parents being misled by scare stories that vaccinating them is dangerous. Some 12,000 people have contracted measles since late 2016 in the European Union’s second-poorest country, 46 of them died. Among the dead, 39 were children under the age of three who had not been vaccinated, making Romania one of the worst affected countries in the ongoing measles outbreak in Europe. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)
A family physician prepares a measles vaccine during a consultation on April 16, 2018 in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. – Measles still claims young lives in Romania, where nearly 40 children have died in an outbreak that many blame on parents being misled by scare stories that vaccinating them is dangerous. Some 12,000 people have contracted measles since late 2016 in the European Union’s second-poorest country, 46 of them died. Among the dead, 39 were children under the age of three who had not been vaccinated, making Romania one of the worst affected countries in the ongoing measles outbreak in Europe. (Photo by Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)
A nurse was seen vaccinating school children at her school in Lhokseumawe, August 4, 2018, Aceh, Indonesia. Vaccination Measles-Rubella (MR) for Indonesian school children is part of the Indonesian government’s health program to provide physical immunity from two dangerous diseases, Rubella and Measles in Indonesian children. (Photo by Fachrul Reza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Artists wearing superhero costumes comfort an elementary student while she receives a German Measles, also known as Rubella, vaccination in Pekanbaru, Riau province on August 1, 2018 as part of the Indonesian governments health program to combat childhood diseases. (Photo by WAHYUDI / AFP) (Photo credit should read WAHYUDI/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA – APRIL 17 : A Syrian child is vaccinated during the measles campaign in Al-Bab district of Aleppo, Syria on April 17, 2018. Kids fled from Eastern Ghouta’s Douma after Assad regime forces’ suspected chemical attack on April 7, 2018 receive measles vaccine Al-Bab district of Aleppo. (Photo by Omer Alven/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Venezuelan woman is vaccinated against measles in Cucuta, Colombia, at the international brigde Simon Bolivar on the border with Venezuela, on March 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Schneyder Mendoza (Photo credit should read SCHNEYDER MENDOZA/AFP/Getty Images)
Venezuelan, Yan Manuel, receives a free measles vaccine given by a volunteer, after showing his identity card at the Pacaraima border control, Roraima State, Brazil August 19, 2018. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
A member of the Free Revolutionary Police carries out an inspection on a measles vaccine in the southern Idlib countryside September 17, 2014. Fifteen children died after being vaccinated against measles in northern Syria, resulting in the programme being halted, aid workers said on Wednesday, a tragedy likely to damage trust in health services in opposition-held areas. The Free Revolutionary Police is a newly launched unarmed police movement that works in areas controlled by the Free Syrian Army to solve the day-to-day problems in Idlib, the group said. Picture taken September 17, 2014. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi (SYRIA – Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT HEALTH)
A girl receives anti-measles vaccination drops at a health centre in BASECO compound in Tondo, Manila September 3, 2014. Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on September 1, 2014 between 11 to 13 million people in the country are at risk from measles, polio and rubella (German measles), and asked the public to cooperate in eradicating the preventable diseases, during Monday’s launch of a mass national vaccination campaign against measles and polio, reported local media. REUTERS/Erik De Castro (PHILIPPINES – Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY)
A vial of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and an information sheet is seen at Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES – Tags: HEALTH)
Rowan Walters, aged four, is held by her mother as she given an MMR injection at the Paediatric Outpatients department at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, south Wales April 6, 2013. Following an increase in the number of confirmed cases of a measles in south Wales, parents in the area were urged to vaccinate their children, and hospitals in the region opened drop-in clinics on Saturday, local media reported. REUTERS/Rebecca Naden (BRITAIN – Tags: SOCIETY HEALTH)
A health worker in Ciudad Juarez at the Mexican border crossing with El Paso, Texas, hands out leaflets to passing motorists and people as part of a measles prevention programme, February 16, 2015. California public health officials have confirmed three more cases of measles in an outbreak that began in late December, bringing to 113 the total number of people believed to have been infected in the state. Health officials in Arizona, where seven cases of measles have been documented, said the outbreak would likely be considered over in that state if no further infections were reported over the weekend. Across the United States, more than 150 people have been diagnosed with measles, many of them linked to an outbreak that authorities believe began when an infected person from out of the country visited Disneyland in late December. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez (MEXICO – Tags: SOCIETY HEALTH IMMIGRATION)
Quick urged anyone who has symptoms to call a health care provider before going to the doctor to avoid additional exposures. People are also urged to check their records to determine if they have been vaccinated or previously had measles.
Quick said she expects to see more measles cases, generally, among international travelers who visit California because of an increase in the illness overseas.
“We’re in general concerned with the outbreaks going on in places in this country as well as internationally,” she said.
Measles cases are rising around the world. The number of cases nearly tripled globally during the first seven months of the year compared with the same period in 2018, the World Health Organization reported this month.
New Zealand — and the United States — are dealing with their worst outbreaks in decades.
Disneyland officials on Friday 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.”
“We maintain rigorous sanitation standards to protect guests and cast, and earlier this year we strengthened our immunization program and educational resources for cast members,” the statement said.
Disneyland and adjacent Disney California Adventure Park are major tourist destinations, drawing tens of thousands of visitors a day.
In 2015, a measles outbreak involving Disneyland sickened 147 people and spread across the U.S. and into Canada.
As of early this month, Los Angeles County health officials reported 16 measles cases among county residents this year and — in addition to the New Zealand girl — 10 others among non-residents who traveled through.
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