Health authorities have identified seven more cases of measles traced to an outbreak at the Disney theme parks in California, bringing the number of known cases up to 26.
Officials have found that the 26 people who contracted the disease have one thing in common: they all visited either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure theme parks. So far, authorities have identified 22 cases in California, two in Utah, one in Colorado, and one in Washington State.
Health officials are asking anyone who may have contracted measles in December to contact authorities to determine if the disease has any connection to the outbreak at the theme parks.
Measles is highly contagious and can be spread through coughing or sneezing. Infected people spread the disease before they even realize they have it.
Symptoms appear one to two weeks after exposure and may include runny nose, watery eyes, cough, and a high fever. A raised, red rash lasting four to seven days then starts to spread on the face and down the body.
There is no treatment for measles once it is contracted. Patients should stay hydrated as they ride the illness out. Authorities say the only prevention is widespread vaccination.
In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control had thought that measles were eliminated in the US, but starting in 2008, cases began to climb. In 2014, the number of cases exploded to over 600, more than the number of cases reported between 2009 and 2013 combined. The CDC reported that cases reached a 20-year high in 2014.
The CDC determined that the number of cases grew in the US due to an influx of foreign immigrants.
Thus far, health officials are refusing to speculate on how this latest outbreak started.
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