More than 700 cases of the measles have been reported in the United States this year,according to federal health officials, with hundreds in quarantine. It’s been characterised as the largest outbreak of the preventable disease since 2000, the year that it was declared eliminated from the country. But it’s continuing to spread, and authorities are warning that the first known patient in Orange County, California went to a midnight screening of Avengers: Endgame before she knew she had measles.
The woman lives in Placentia, California, a city in Northern Orange County, and health officials are warning people that she might have exposed them to measles in the area, the Los Angeles Times reported. The woman reportedly caught the disease travelling abroad at a country experiencing an outbreak, and it’s unclear whether she was vaccinated.
The CDC reported that over 500 of the 704 reported measles cases were in patients who hadn’t been vaccinated.
According to the Los Angeles Times report, after the woman contracted measles, she went to work for multiple days as well as the midnight premiere of Endgame in Fullerton, a city located in Northern Orange County. The Orange County Health Care agency warned that the AMC Theatre on Lemon Street in the city between the hours of 11pm and 4am on April 25 as a possible exposure spot, Mercury News reported.
Spokeswoman Jessica Good reportedly said that “the exposure risk applies to anyone who was at the theatre during that time period.” The health agency added that the St. Jude Emergency Department the morning of April 27 and 5 Hutton Centre Drive in Santa Ana between 7am and 7:15pm from April 23 through 25 are also possible exposure spots.
Orange County health officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by Gizmodo. It’s unclear at this point what the patient’s status is or if there have been other patients that have been identified.
California is among the states hit hardest by the measles outbreak this year. A CDC report confirmed 38 cases of measles in California as of April 24, Mercury News reported, with 14 of those people contracting the disease travelling abroad. Just four of those people infected 22 others, and most of them were reportedly not vaccinated. Three out of the nine jurisdictions with measles outbreaks have also occurred in the state.
The woman who went to the massively attended Avengers film before she realised she had the measles was the first reported case of the viral infection in that California county, but as of the end of April, measles had been reported in 11 counties in the state.
“The longer this continues, the greater the chances that measles will again get a foothold in the United States,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the C.D.C.’s director for immunization, said at a news conference, the New York Times reported.