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article imageDisneyland measles outbreak spreads throughout state

By Nathan Salant     Jan 22, 2015 in Health
Oakland - Dozens of Californians who visited Disneyland and an adjacent theme park over the past two months have contracted measles in the largest outbreak of the highly contagious virus in years.
State health officials report 59 cases of the disease have been reported around the state, including seven in the San Francisco Bay Area — hundreds of miles from the Southern California theme parks.
“It’s pretty clear we’ve seen some cases that go beyond the initial outbreak of Disneyland," said Dr. Stephen Parodi, director of hospital operations for Kaiser Northern California, during Wednesday's media conference call.
"That tells me you’re having transmission that’s occurring in our communities now,” Parodi said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
And that has prompted Parodi and other California health officials to urge people who have not gotten vaccinated against measles to either get the two-shot treatment or start avoiding crowded public places.
The measles virus can cause serious illnesses, including death, and is highly contagious if left untreated.
Symptoms include fever, runny nose and watery eyes at first, making the disease easily mistaken for cold or flu, before the characteristic red eyes and severe rash kick in.
“We can expect to see many more cases of this vaccine-preventable disease unless people take precautionary measures,” said Dr. Gil Chavez, deputy director of the Center for Infectious Diseases with the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento, the state capital.
“I am asking unvaccinated Californians to consider getting immunized to protect themselves and family and community at large,” he said.
Nearly all of the people who have become infected in December and January have not been vaccinated, either because they haven't been able to get the vaccine or chose not to, the newspaper said.
Nearly all of those who became sick had recently visited Disneyland or California Adventure Park in Anaheim.
The outbreak is the second large outbreak of measles since 1990, when the disease was thought to be eradicated, the newspaper said.
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