Like a hotshot team, a rapid response by public health is essential to stopping the spread of measles in unvaccinated persons… and disease detectives in Maricopa County are currently working to squash a measles outbreak right now.
Last week a person with measles visited a restaurant, church and airport in Arizona, exposing over a thousand people to measles. Press releases and health alerts have gone out- and epidemiologists, public health nurses, and healthcare providers have been dispatched by Maricopa County Public Health to identify, isolate and control further cases. Time will tell if their efforts pay off. We should know in a couple of weeks (the incubation period for measles is 10 – 18 days).
Measles seeks out the unvaccinated like fire seeks a dry branch – the chance of an unvaccinated contact getting measles is 90% once exposed. If you’re not vaccinated against measles, you can get it just by being in a room with someone who has measles. A measles vaccine can prevent infection if given within 72 hours of exposure as an emergency control measure for unvaccinated folks… but herd immunity is what keeps the community from getting burned.