Disneyland measles outbreak spreads beyond California

Disneyland
FILE - Disneyland (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, H. Lorren Au Jr., FILE)

(NBC News) — More than 50 people have been diagnosed with the measles in an outbreak that began in December at California’s Disneyland.

“We are very concerned, and it’s expanded much more rapidly than we thought,” said pediatrician Dr. Robert Bjork.

Cases have now been reported in Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

The airborne virus is so contagious it can stick around after an infected person has left the room.

“The virus can actually survive on dry surfaces for hours, and that’s what’s most concerning about this,” said Dr. Natalie Azar with NYU’s Langone Medical Center.

Measles causes fever, a cough and runny nose. It’s also marked by a signature rash that may not show up until after the patient has been contagious for days.

“It can lead to blindness, it can lead to encephalitis, which is an infection of the brain,” said pediatrician Dr. Kjartan Armann.

Thirteen people are also sick in a separate measles outbreak in South Dakota.

One clinic there offered booster shots for free.

“You’re not just putting yourself at risk, it’s others you’re putting at risk, too, if you get sick and pass it along,” said Eric Van Meter, a South Dakota resident.

Many patients in the outbreak that began in Disneyland were not vaccinated, either because they were too young or because parents decided against vaccinating their children. Doctors say a decrease in vaccination rates is the main reason the nation has seen a marked increase in measles outbreaks in recent years.

More than 600 people were infected in the U.S. in 2014, the worst year for measles in over a decade.

Doctors say those born in the 1970s or ’80s may need a second round of shots for full immunity because they may not have received a booster shot that was later added to the vaccine schedule.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s