|As if the severity of the 2014-2015 cold and flu season wasn’t enough cause for concern, a recent measles outbreak linked to Disneyland has spread across Southern California, forcing the Sharp Rees-Stealy Rancho Bernardo urgent care center to temporarily close its doors on Monday.
Late Monday morning, Sharp Healthcare tweeted that is had closed its Rancho Bernardo urgent care location in Via Tazon due to a suspected measles case. A comment posted by Sharp Healthcare on the organization’s Facebook page later reported the urgent care center was scheduled to reopen at 3:30 p.m. that same day.
“A patient suspected of having measles has been discharged, with test results pending by the county department of public health,” officials posted.
The unidentified patient came into the Sharp Rees-Stealy urgent care center shortly before 10:30 a.m. according to Sharp Healthcare spokesperson Curtis Ippolito. The patient was seeking treatment for symptoms commonly associated with measles.
“The child had a pretty extensive rash,” said Dr. Dan Smith, who runs the facility. “He had some redness. That’s one of the signs of measles.”
The patient was immediately placed in an isolated room while the San Diego County Health Department was called in order to begin infectious disease protocol.
“We immediately closed the clinic and stopped registering patients,” said Dr. Smith. “Patients that were here were asked to stay.” Twenty other patients were inside at the time of the closing.
Over two dozen people across four states have contracted measles after visiting Disneyland theme parks between Dec. 17 and Dec. 20.
On Monday, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced that there were three new possible cases of measles in San Diego County. The North County locations where residents may have been exposed to the virus were released by health officials.
The HHSA announced they are awaiting confirmation of these cases. If the results test positive, the total number of measles cases in the country will rise to 13.
The measles virus is highly contagious and spreads through air via coughing and sneezing. Symptoms can develop between seven to 21 days from exposure. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, early symptoms include cough, running nose, high fever and red, water eyes. After two to three days, small white spots appear inside the mouth. After three to five days, the distinctive rash develops.
“The proper handling of a suspected measles case is very important in containing the spread of the highly contagious virus. Urgent care centers in the West and really all across the country could potentially expect to see more of these types of cases if containment and proper medical care are not received by the infected patient,” said Alison Hare, Practice Administrator of AFC/Doctors Express Urgent Care “It’s important for parents and all citizens to be aware of the signs/symptoms of the virus and take proper precautions if they feel they have been exposed or their child(ren) has been exposed to the virus.”