Over the course of the past several weeks, the United States has been shocked by a number of cases of the measles, a previously common illness that has largely been eradicated due to an effective vaccination. The incidents have drawn comments from everyone to President Obama to Republican presidential candidates Chris Christie and Rand Paul, all weighing in on whether or not parents should vaccinate their children. Now, it has been reported that an urgent care center in La Mesa, CA was recently closed after five patients reported measles symptoms.
Around 40 patients were waiting for treatment at the Sharp-Rees Steely Urgent Care Clinic on Wednesday, January 14 when the five suspected measles patients entered the urgent care facility. Each complained of a fever and a rash, and they were also accompanied by a sixth person, who reported experiencing symptoms but said they had recovered.
Measles is an extremely contagious, airborne disease, and the urgent care clinic was naturally worried about potential transmissions. Fortunately, they quickly determined that most of the patients in the waiting room had been immunized. However, the center was closed for several hours to be disinfected before reopening at 5:30 p.m. Other offices near the clinic, which shares a campus with Grossmont Hospital, remained open.
Doctors say that measles typically begins with a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. After a few days, the patient will develop a characteristic red rash on their face which then spreads to the rest of the body. Health officials say that patients who report these symptoms should call their primary care physician or a local health facility and avoid visiting public places.
The five suspected measles cases in La Mesa are only some of the most recent in an outbreak that is believed to have started at Disneyland. In early January, California State health officials reported that nine people who visited the theme park in mid-December had contracted the disease. Since then, the number of cases connected to this outbreak has risen to 26. Meanwhile, across the United States, 644 people are believed to have contracted measles in the past year, more than three times the usual annual average. Health officials are reportedly still trying to determine if the five people who closed the urgent care clinic are connected to the Disneyland outbreak or another source. Read this for more.