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More California Panic: Man with Measles Visited Fresno Maternity Ward

The measles outbreak continues to spread in California and beyond, with a case confirmed Wednesday in Fresno County. Fresno health officials say the man visited the area recently and may have had contact with county residents in public locations, including an area medical center and its maternity ward, potentially exposing babies to the extremely contagious disease.

The measles-infected man visited Community Regional Medical Center twice, a WinCo Foods grocery store, and Fashion Fair Mall while in the Fresno area, potentially infecting others in the process.

Measles is a highly infectious disease that can be spread simply by breathing the same air as an infected individual. Up to two hours after an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets that spray into the air can remain active and contagious.

Measles symptoms include cold-like symptoms, high fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes and a rash that typically begins on the forehead and spreads down the body, according to a County of Fresno Department of Public Health notice.

Those showing signs of the disease are encouraged to stay home, verify their immunization status and contact their healthcare providers. Measles-infected individuals are most contagious in the four days before and four days after a rash first appears.

A recently released study documented higher numbers of non- or under-vaccinated children in graduate-level educated and lower-income communities in northern California. Reasons given have included fear of potentially severe vaccine side effects including high fever, seizures, and an unproven connection to autism.

California Health Department officials have begun urging adults to obtain booster measles vaccinations. Recently, two-dozen Huntington Beach High School students who were unvaccinated have been sent home from in the midst of the outbreak. Another case of the disease exposed a bay area Costco and Walmart, according to reports and posted warnings.

79 cases of the disease have been documented within California as of Wednesday since an outbreak began at Disneyland in mid-December (not all of the cases are traced to Disneyland). Additionally, 16 cases across seven states and Mexico have been reported and connected either to Disneyland or elsewhere in California, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana

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