The measles scare in Please Touch Museum has come to an end, Pennsylvania authorities have confirmed. At the start of the year, the public was warned of a possible outbreak in the Philadelphia area. This was after the belief that a patient had the contagious disease on Monday.
Philadelphia officials took the patient and tested him for the virus. There was no confirmation over whether this patient was an adult or a child, but it was the Please Touch Museum and nearby pharmacy that were expected to be the zones where measles may have spread. It turns out that the patient has tested negative, and the health warning has been removed.
While it turns out that it was a false alarm, Michael Wolf, health secretary in Pennsylvania does not regret the actions taken. It was important to act quickly on the information and initial investigation, and that meant alerting the public. Despite there being a vaccine to prevent the disease, 20 outbreaks were recorded over the last year nationwide.
The main issue with this possible outbreak was that the people the patient would have come in contact with were likely children. They may not have had their vaccine. Children under 12 months can get into the museum for free, and it is a popular attraction for families. However, the measles scare in Pennsylvania has come to an end.
Symptoms of the disease may not show for up to two weeks from catching the virus. The disease can also remain contagious on surfaces for as long as two hours, the health department stated. It is also an airborne virus, and remains in the air for a few hours, making it highly contagious.
In the 20 outbreaks in 2014, there were 610 cases of measles. This is more than three times the amount of cases in any other year from 2001. There are many theories over why the disease is spreading so rapidly, but an outbreak in the Philippines is considered as one of the main reasons.
The initial symptoms can be very much like a cold or flu. However, over a few days of the initial symptoms showing, a red rash will appear, usually behind the ear. This then spreads across the neck and head before travelling around the rest of the body.
There is currently no specific treatment available for measles, except the prevention vaccination. In most cases, the immune system will fight off the disease, but it can be a deadly virus. Doctors recommend patients remain in dark rooms to reduce the sensitivity to light, and clean their eyes with damp cotton wool. Ibuprofen or paracetamol can help to reduce the pains felt and lower a fever. Those who have severe reactions may require hospital treatment. Those under 12 months or who are already in poor health are more likely to develop severe symptoms.
Those who were worried about the potential outbreak can rest easy. The Pennsylvania officials have deemed that the measles scare is over, after the patient tested negative for the virus.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo by Jim, the Photographer