‘This is a critical point’: Arizona health officials fear Super Bowl could worsen measles outbreak
As tens of thousands of people descend on Phoenix for this weekend’s Super Bowl, public health officials in Arizona are scrambling to contain the state’s growing measles outbreak, ABC News reports.
Will Humble, the Arizona Department of Health Services Director, wrote on his blog that over 1,000 people in Arizona had come into contact with members of an unvaccinated Pinal County family that had contracted the disease at Disneyland.
“This is a critical point in this outbreak,” he continued. “If the public health system and medical community are able to identify every single susceptible case and get them into isolation, we have a chance of stopping this outbreak here.”
“However, if we miss any potential cases and some of them go to a congregate setting with numerous susceptible contacts, we could be in for a long and protracted outbreak.”
Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told officials to advise anyone with measles-like symptoms not to attend the Super Bowl. Symptoms of the disease include fever, cough, runny nose, as well as the disease’s distinctive red rash.
“The very large outbreaks we’ve seen around the world often started with a small number of cases,” she said.
Measles is one of the most contagious viruses, infecting approximately 90 percent of unvaccinated individuals exposed to it. The incubation period is 14 days, but it can take up to four days before an infected and contagious person presents any symptoms.
Watch a report on the attempts to contain the measles epidemic via ABC News below.