Measles cases in outbreak linked to Disney swell to 107
More measles cases have been found in California, health officials said Friday.
Figures released by the California Department of Public Health showed there are now 91 confirmed cases in the state, up from 79 on Wednesday.
Of those, 58 infections have been linked to visits to Disneyland or contact with a sick person who went there.
The total number of cases in the outbreak has climbed to 107 and includes Arizona (five), Utah (three), Washington state (two), Michigan (one), Oregon (one), Colorado (one), Nebraska (one) and Mexico (two).
Measles, which is spread through the air, is highly contagious. Symptoms include fever as high as 105, cough, redness of the eyes, runny nose and a blotchy rash. It can lead to inflammation of the brain, pneumonia and death.
Most young children are vaccinated against measles. But outbreaks still occur in the United States, usually when travelers pick up the virus abroad and then spread it among unvaccinated people here.
People at highest risk are those who are unvaccinated, pregnant women, infants under 6 months old and those with weakened immune systems. At least six of the California cases occurred in infants too young to be immunized, state officials said.
Health officials have not found “patient zero” or the person who triggered the Disneyland-linked outbreak. But they think it’s someone who caught the virus outside the country and visited one of the Disney theme parks during the holidays.
Federal recommendations call for the first dose of measles vaccination, known as MMR, to be given at 12 to 15 months of age, with a second between ages 4 and 6.
California law requires two doses of the measles vaccination before kindergartners can enroll, but parents may obtain exemptions for the vaccines if they say the inoculations conflict with their personal beliefs.
Last year, the U.S. saw a record 644 measles infections in 27 states after virtually eliminating the disease in 2000.
California typically sees four to 60 cases a year.
NY state advises non-immune after train rider gets measles
Health officials say a New York college student who now has measles recently traveled across the state on a train. So they want to make people aware while noting that most New Yorkers have been vaccinated against the disease.
The state Health Department said Friday that the Bard College student took a 1:20 p.m. Amtrak train from New York City’s Penn Station to Albany and then to Niagara Falls this past Sunday.
If someone might have been exposed, develops a fever and isn’t sure of his or her immunity, he or she should call her doctor before going for care. That’s to avoid possibly exposing others.
The Dutchess County Department of Health held a measles vaccination clinic Friday at Bard.
The state has had three cases of measles this year.
White House: Science indicates parents should vaccinate kids
Amid the measles outbreak stemming from California, the White House is telling parents that science indicates they should vaccinate their children.
President Barack Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, said Friday that decisions about vaccinations should be left to parents, but the science on vaccinations “is really clear.” Some parents continue to believe debunked research linking vaccines to autism and refuse vaccinate their children.
“I’m not going stand up here and dispense medical advice,” Earnest said when asked whether the president supports parents who choose not to vaccinate. “But I am going to suggest that the president’s view is that people should evaluate this for themselves, with a bias toward good science and toward the advice of our public health professionals, who are trained to offer us exactly this kind of advice.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is 97 percent effective at preventing measles. The American Academy of Pediatrics says doctors should bring up the importance of vaccinations during visits but should respect a parent’s wishes unless there’s a significant risk to the child.
Associated Press and Los Angeles Times
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