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Measles Outbreak Hits Bay Area as Low Vaccination Numbers Loom

The measles outbreak in California has hit 63 cases since it surfaced in Disneyland this past December, and several new cases have now surfaced in three Bay Area counties, resulting in a potential new spread of the highly-contagious disease there.

Low vaccination in both adults and children has health officials pushing for measles intervention and urging everyone who has not already done so to receive the MMR (measles, mumps rubella) vaccine shot.

Alameda (five cases), Santa Clara (one case), and San Mateo (one case) counties have seven confirmed cases so far, according to NBC News in the Bay Area. As a precaution and attempt to generate more awareness about the importance of vaccinations to thwart the measles spread, several schools in the South Bay will send notices out to address questions parents have about the infectious illness.

Of 63 confirmed cases statewide, 42 have been linked to the world-renowned, Anaheim-based Disneyland amusement park directly. Five Disney employees are among the infected. State health officials determined that 34 of the infected measles patients were unvaccinated, and that just one had received one dose of the MMR vaccine, while five had received two or more doses of it, NBC notes.

The Measles epidemic had been completely eradicated from the United States in 2000. After 2004, when the number of cases hit a record low of just 37 cases nationwide annually, that figure has risen to new heights nearly every subsequent year. In 2014, there was over 640 measles cases nationwide.

A simple measles vaccine can prevent the disease and its dramatic spread. Measles is highly contagious and can remain active for up to two hours in the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes. Last year, the lack of vaccinations against whooping cough (pertussis) resulted in the worst outbreak in 70 years, with nearly 10,000 people diagnosed with the bacterial disease.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.

 

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