Arizona officials on alert for measles

Posted: Updated:
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

PHOENIX (AP) -- The seven Arizona residents sickened in a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland in California have are no longer infectious, said county health officials on Tuesday as they remain vigilant for new cases of the disease to emerge.

Up to 1,000 people - including 200 children - in three Arizona counties have potentially been exposed to the disease. Officials have asked them to stay home so they don't further spread it until a 21-day period passes with no symptoms.

"We are not out of the danger zone yet," said Kore Redden, acting director of the Pinal County's Department of Public Health, with five of the diagnosed cases. "We still have the potential of having additional confirmed cases."

Measles is contagious for four days before a person develops a rash and for another four days after, Redden said. The seven diagnosed with measles have passed that period.

In Maricopa County, two people who also fell ill with measles have also passed the contagious period, said Jeanene Fowler, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Public Health Department.

Several people who visited the Phoenix Children's East Valley Center in Mesa on Jan. 20 and 21 may have been exposed to measles. Health officials have directly contacted most of them and left three phone messages for the others, Fowler said.

Nationally, 105 cases of measles linked to the Disneyland outbreak have been reported with the largest share of 92 in California, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Arizona had the second largest number to California. The other cases are in Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Anybody potentially exposed to measles is urged to stay home for 21 days so the disease isn't spread further.

Shana Bereche, 30, and her 5-month-old daughter, Leighton, were exposed during a Jan. 21 appointment at the Phoenix Children's East Valley Center. Days later they received a call from health officials asking her to stay home.

It's been frustrating, said Bereche, who worries about her baby falling ill and frustrated because the plumbers she needed to repair her broken shower refused to enter her home.

"No one will come to your house for fear of getting measles," she said. "We clearly don't want to contaminate anyone else."