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Measles Outbreak Strikes Again In Los Angeles

Two years after a large Measles outbreak broke out at Disneyland in Southern California and spread internationally, an outbreak of the disease is back with nine confirmed cases in Los Angeles County.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DOPH) announced Friday that they are investigating the nine cases as part of an outbreak in the county. The department recommended in an email alert, “Health care providers should consider the diagnosis of measles among persons presenting with a febrile rash illness.”

In December 2014 a Measles outbreak originated at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Patient zero was long said to be unknown. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported, “The outbreak likely started from a traveler who became infected overseas with measles, then visited the amusement park while infectious. However, no source has been identified.”

The United States saw 23 measles outbreaks in 2014 for a total 667 confirmed cases according to the CDC. 2015 saw just 188 in comparison and 2016 saw only 62 cases as of December 3. The CDC reported of all 2014 cases of the disease, “Many of the cases in the U.S. in 2014 were associated with cases brought in from the Philippines, which experienced a large measles outbreak.”

The Disneyland outbreak was used by California state legislators to push steeper regulations including a vaccine mandate, SB 277, that stripped a previously permitted personal belief exemption.

A study of the Bay Area and Sonoma County that was released in early 2015 revealed that the highest levels of un- or under-vaccination existed among the communities of largely graduate-level educated residents and low-income areas.

A Whooping cough resurgence in 2014 the carried into 2015 was attributed at least in part to diminishing effectiveness of a childhood vaccine for the disease. Public health officials recommended booster shots for adults and older children in response to the epidemic, though the CDC noted that current vaccinations were not a guarantee against infection.

In total, the Disneyland outbreak spread to at least seven states, Canada and Mexico before it was considered over. Greater than 150 cases were associated with it.

Measles symptoms generally appear within 10-12 days after exposure according to the L.A. County DOPH. Symptoms may include fever (up to 105 degrees F), malaise, cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis. Two to four days later a rash appears near an infected person’s hairline or ears. The disease is highly infectious. Transmission occurs as respiratory droplets enter the air.

Public health officials declared measles eradicated from the United States in 2000 and from Canada in 1998.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 

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