Measles Outbreak Spreads: 87 Cases, 7 States, Plus Mexico

California and California-related cases of the measles now total 87, excluding any outside the state that have no known link to the December Magic Kingdom outbreak. California Department of Public Health officials have updated the known extent of the spread that now spans seven states and Mexico.

Multiple cases have no known link to the Disneyland source, sparking questions as to where the additional cases are originating.

In 2000, measles was declared eradicated in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The majority of cases that have arisen in the U.S. since then have been connected to foreign sources, and the spread has been more common among the unvaccinated.

Recent trends have documented increasing numbers of parents choosing not to vaccinate children under concerns of potentially severe side effects. The majority of those under-vaccinating in northern California are among communities with graduate-degree educated residents, as well as low-income communities.

Gary Monahan recounted to the Los Angeles Times his experience with severe side effects and sickness after vaccinating his first child for measles, mumps and rubella. After a high fever, a trip to the hospital, and a subsequent autism diagnosis, Costa Mesa City Councilman Monahan chose not to vaccinate his youngest four of six children.

A number of studies noted on the CDC website have refuted any connection between vaccines and autism; however, CDC does note side effects including fever, rare allergic reactions– and, with the MMRV vaccine documented cases of febrile seizures.

CDC reports, “Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, about 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Of those people, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 4,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles.”

Monday’s update details only 50 of the 73 California measles cases as linked to the Disneyland cases. An additional 14 cases spread between Arizona, Nebraska, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Utah and Mexico were listed for their link to the Disneyland outbreak. Numbers for cases of measles outside California with no known link to Disneyland were not provided.

The year 2014 saw a dramatic spike in cases, numbering 644–more than triple the number of those documented in 2013 and approximately triple that of 2011, which had previously been the most severe outbreak in 14 years, according to CDC. CDC noted outbreaks in the Philippines, Vietnam, China and Micronesia as contributing to the increase in measles cases in 2014.

CDC reported 68 cases in 11 states from Jan. 1 through 23, 2015. Friday’s CDPH report listed cases across only seven states. Details for cases in four additional states were not seen listed on the measles page of the CDC website. The CDC noted that most cases reported in 2015 were connected to the Disneyland outbreak.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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