Measles is a vaccine preventable disease which is caused by a virus. Therefore it was with surprise that people received the news of a Measles scare at the most unusual of places, the ‘Please Touch Museum’ in Philadelphia and in a nearby pharmacy. Thankfully the scare has come to an end with Health officials in Pennsylvania announced the end to a measles scare this week.
In its initial release the health department had said that the person who “likely has the measles” must have exposed other people to the highly contagious virus at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia on Monday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. However the person has tested negative for the virus. No further details about the age or the sex of the person were forthcoming from the state health department.
Pennsylvania health secretary Michael Wolf said, “Based on initial information received from those involved in the treatment of the individual and based on initial investigation by the department, it was believed this was a likely case of measles and public notification was made out of an abundance of caution.”
Wolf further added that the measles is no longer a public health risk in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The initial measles alarm was triggered by 20 measles outbreaks nationwide over the past year notwithstanding the fact that it is a vaccine preventable disease. One of the major reasons of worry was that MMR or Measles vaccine is given after 12 months age and the museum had free entry for kids below one year. Therefore a large number of unimmunized kids could have been exposed to measles virus. Further the symptoms of the disease appear after two weeks of first exposure. Measles virus is viable in infected droplets and secretions for up to two hours.
Officials were concerned because it could take up to two weeks for symptoms to appear in those who were exposed to the virus. The virus could also spread through the air and can remain airborne for a few hours.