A measles outbreak in Philadelphia has sickened at least five children, with three more suspected cases yet to be confirmed. The highly contagious virus hospitalized two of the children. Health department officials say more infections could occur in the coming weeks, and they advise parents to look out for signs of the disease in their kids. Measles often begins with “flu-like” symptoms such as a fever, red/watery eyes and a runny nose. A few days later, you may see white spots inside of the mouth. Several days after the onset of symptoms, rashes typically form on the face before spreading to the rest of the body.
The outbreak started at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) when an infected baby spread the virus to other patients before the infant began to show symptoms. The patients included an infant not old enough to get the vaccine, an older child who is unvaccinated and the older kid’s unvaccinated parent. One of the children infected at CHOP then attended day care in violation of quarantine orders. Neither the Multicultural Education Station day care in Oxford nor the parent followed quarantine procedures, leading to the infection of at least two others at the day care. Three more suspected cases are under investigation.
Measles is highly contagious. If a person without immunity is exposed to an infected individual, they have a 90% chance of becoming infected themselves. The virus can survive for two hours in the air after a contagious person leaves the room. Two doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine are 97% protective against measles infection.
For more information, see The Philadelphia Inquirer