ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Orange County is on high alert with a new warning: a measles outbreak could be just around the corner.
The major thing putting it at risk is the area’s biggest industry: tourism. One study says Orange County has the recipe for a measles disaster.
A new study shows Florida is a potential hotbed for measles. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Johns Hopkins University found Orange County is the 14th most vulnerable county in the United States for a measles outbreak. The millions of tourists are putting the county at risk.
“We understand there is a convergence of international visitors where measles around the world is very active and of course they're coming to our attractions and theme parks,” said Kent Donahue, from the Florida Department of Health.
“Anywhere is vulnerable to it. Anywhere there's tourists,” said April Terrell, of Plant City.
Once the measles hits an area, it hits hard. The measles are incredibly contagious. The Department of Health says after its contagions have been emitted, they can linger in the air for two hours, infecting anyone who breathes it in.
“I heard about it recently and I was concerned yeah. I recently moved from Massachusetts down here, and I'm like, oh maybe this was not the best time to move,” said Jeselle Giervolini, of Orlando.
The other risk for Orange County is people who haven’t been vaccinated.
“As a teacher, yes I'm worried because there are a lot of kids out there that don't have vaccines,” said Louise Viverito, of Sarasota.
The Florida Department of Health says after 2000, when the measles were thought to be eradicated, many stopped getting the vaccine. But it’s never too late to get it, even as an adult.
“Be proactive. Take care of your health. Get vaccinated,” said Donahue.
You can call your doctor or the Department of Health to find out how and where you can get a vaccine.