The number of cases of measles tied to the Disneyland outbreak has grown to 22 cases across California. Besides the Disneyland exposure, health officials warned on Monday that people may also be exposed to measles by new confirmed cases in Long Beach and San Bernardino.
In Long Beach, one person has been confirmed to have gotten the measles virus from Disneyland. The individual visited the park between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, according to the Long Beach city health officer, Dr. Mitchell Kushner.
A more generalized statement was given by the Department of Public Health in San Bernardino County concerning two people there. It said only that they had visited Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme parks, but did not say whether the people had visited the parks themselves or had obtained the virus from someone who did.
It is not known how far measles may have spread into the surrounding areas. So far, it appears that most of the people who became infected were not vaccinated against it. Since there is a growing number of those who have not received the vaccination, and since tens of thousands of people visit Disneyland daily, it may be the ideal location for the virus to spread very fast.
Disneyland is in Orange County, California, which is the county that had the most cases last year. It is also not a coincidence that this county has one of the highest percentages of children who have not had the vaccine, which could easily explain why measles from Disneyland has quickly spread to 22 cases.
Some are blaming the spread of the virus on the anti-vaccine crowd. In 2012, 95 percent of the people of California had been vaccinated against measles. Currently, the number has gone down to 92 percent.
A drop in just three percent can make a real difference. A similar event occurred in Nigeria when the country was giving out vaccines for polio. The vaccines were denounced by religious leaders who declared that the injections would sterilize the girls and give them AIDS. Just three years later, 20 counties started seeing polio cases, and in each case, it was the Nigerian strain.
In the year 2000, measles was declared purged from the United States. A few cases occurred since then, but there were 610 cases last year in 24 different states, which is the most ever since 2000. Most of them were in people who never had the vaccine.
Medical officers in both Long Beach and San Bernardino are reporting that several locations may have exposed people to the measles in addition to Disneyland. Measles cases have been confirmed in several California counties including Alameda, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Orange and Ventura.
The measles virus can incubate for seven to 21 days. This means that people need to watch for possible symptoms for that long after they have been exposed. Symptoms will be seen before the rash occurs. This may consist of a fever, a cough, and red and watery eyes. People are contagious about four days prior to the rash developing and four days afterwards.
While most people do not want to get the virus, the only real way to avoid it is to get the vaccination. With 22 cases of measles having been tied to Disneyland, it may be that a new outbreak is beginning, especially because the disease spreads quickly. Measles vaccinations are readily available for those who have not yet had one.
By Mike Valles