UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) in the US has highlighted that the recent news about an international tourist with measles who visited Santa Monica has underlined the potential risk of an outbreak of the disease. “Measles is one of the most contagious diseases we have, and the communicability is so high,’’ said Dr Deborah Lehman, who is a Professor of Clinical Paediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and an expert in infectious diseases. “If a person in a restaurant has measles, even if you are not sitting next that person, you can still get infected if you do not have immunity to measles.”
Dr Lehman said it is unlikely that the Santa Monica incident will spark an outbreak in Los Angeles as the incubation period has passed. However, she said that with the resurgence of measles in Europe, it is possible that US residents who have travelled abroad, or international tourists visiting the region, could start an outbreak. Dr Lehman also highlighted the importance of immunisation, with those most at risk of contacting measles being those who are not immunised or fully immunised. She said that people travelling in the coming months should ensure their immunisations are up to date and anyone who suspects they may have been exposed to measles, or who has a set of symptoms that includes fever and rash, should seek medical advice immediately.