California health officials link measles outbreak to Disneyland

LOS ANGELES Jan 7 (Reuters) – Nine cases of measles have
been confirmed in people who visited Disneyland or its adjacent
California Adventure park in late December, state health
officials said on Wednesday, urging anyone who may have been
exposed to contact a doctor.

All nine of the confirmed cases are in people who visited at
least one of the two amusement parks in Anaheim between Dec. 15
and Dec. 20, said Ron Chapman, director of the California
Department of Public Health.

Chapman said three more suspected cases in people who were
at one of the parks during that time frame were under

« 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, » Chapman said, adding that patients infected
with the virus could be infectious for nine days.

« If you have symptoms, and believe you may have been
exposed, please contact your health care provider, » he said.
« The best way to prevent measles and its spread is to get
vaccinated. »

He said the infected patients ranged in age from 8 months to
21 years and that six were unvaccinated for measles, two of them
because they were too young. One of the patients had received
the appropriate vaccination

Measles typically begins with fever, cough, runny nose and
red eyes, followed by the appearance of a red rash that
typically starts on the face and spreads downward.

Chapman said seven of the confirmed cases and three of the
suspected cases were people living in California. The other two
confirmed cases involved Utah residents who visited the
amusement parks during the relevant time period.

Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney
Parks and Resorts, said in a statement the company was working
with the California health department to provide information and

Measles is a sometimes deadly viral disease that can spread
very swiftly among unvaccinated children.

There is no specific treatment and most people recover
within a few weeks. But in poor and malnourished children and
people with reduced immunity, measles can cause serious
complications including blindness, encephalitis, severe
diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia.

In 2013, more than 70 percent of global measles deaths were
in six countries – India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Indonesia
and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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