Nine people who developed measles visited Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park between December 15 and December 20, the California Department of Public Health confirmed Wednesday.
“Based on information from current cases, it is likely that a person infectious with measles was at one of the theme parks on these dates,” a statement from the agency noted.
“Measles typically begins with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes and within a few days a red rash appears, usually first on the face and then spreads downward to the rest of the body,” the statement explained. “Measles is a highly infectious, airborne disease.”
The standard two doses of the MMR vaccine protect against measles with more than 99% effectiveness. (If you were exposed and think you might have measles, contact your health provider.)
Seven of the measles patients in this outbreak are from California; the other two were visiting from Utah. Health officials are also investigating three more potential cases linked to Disneyland and working to track down others who might be at risk for contracting the disease.
Of the confirmed California cases, those infected range in age from 8 months to 21 years. Only one was vaccinated.
While measles is still endemic in some countries, it was officially eradicated from the US in 2000. In recent years, however, it’s made an alarming comeback. Why? “An increasing number of parents in this country are hesitant to have their children vaccinated,” researchers explained in a recent paper in The New England Journal of Medicine. “Such hesitancy has resulted in an accumulation of unvaccinated populations who can become infected and maintain transmission.”
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