The measles outbreak that started in Disneyland, California has now been officially declared over. It affected 131 people in the state, and spread across other states with even one confirmed case in Mexico. The outbreak started in December, and the California Department of Public Health declared it over yesterday.
The B3 stain of measles was a cause for concern across the state after an initial outbreak in December. Those who were in Disneyland parks between December 17 and 23 2014 were recommended to keep an eye out for symptoms. Those who had not been vaccinated were at the highest risk, along with those with compromised immune systems. There was a large call for individuals to get immunized with the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination.
The California Department of Public Health released a report on the outbreak of the strain, saying that 131 people were infected. There have not been any new cases for the last 42 days, which is also the equivalent of two incubation periods back to back. Another five patients were infected with different strains of the virus during the outbreak period.
Out of all the patients, 81 were vaccinated by the end of the outbreak. However, 70 percent of those 81 were originally unvaccinated at the time. There have been two patients with confirmed cases of measles, but they are different genotypes. Since 1990, 19 different strains of the disease have been discovered, according to reported from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the outbreak of measles from the initial California patients has been declared officially over, people may still be at risk if they are not vaccinated against the disease. Health officials said that there could be another problem if others with the disease visit the state. The biggest issue with this particular disease is that it can remain contagious through the air hours after a patient has left an area. It can be transferred through the air due to sneezing and coughing, and often goes undetected for days. It is one of the most contagious diseases.
People are encouraged to get themselves and their children vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid complications. However, there are exemptions, such as for medical and personal reasons. Many parents during the 1990s made the decision not to vaccinate their children due to a scare that it causes autism. However, there is no concrete evidence to show that the two are linked. There are also many other theories over the cause of autism.
By 2000, health officials believed that measles was eliminated from the United States. However, an increase in unvaccinated immigrants led to an increase in cases after that. With so many people unvaccinated, it quickly caused a problem and continues to be an issue on a yearly basis. The good news is that the vaccination is highly successful, and is available for children from 12 months and over. While the outbreak in California has been declared officially over, there are still measles outbreaks around other states and parts of the world, including Quebec, Canada.
Photo by Binu Nair – Flickr License