CDC: Measles Outbreak Has Overseas Source

It probably began with infected Disney tourist, experts say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2015 1:56 AM CST
CDC: Measles Outbreak Has Overseas Source
People walk toward Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. last week.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

It's a small world after all: The measles outbreak that has spread from Disneyland probably began with a foreign visitor to the California park or an American who became infected overseas, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials. The chief of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases says the outbreak, which involves a measles strain similar to ones seen in Indonesia, Qatar, Azerbaijan, and Dubai, "is a wake-up call to make sure that we keep measles from regaining a foothold in our country," NBC reports. She says the disease is spreading because people haven't been getting vaccinated, and it is "frustrating" that some people choose to opt out.

The CDC says 84 people in 14 states have been diagnosed with measles this month, and most of those cases are linked to the Disney outbreak. The director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia tells USA Today that a lot of people seem angry about the Disney outbreak, possibly because it has ruined family vacations—and the image of Disneyland as a carefree place. "People for years have desperately tried to make sure that parents understand what is at stake when you don't vaccinate," he says. "Unfortunately, the only thing that really educates people is fear of the disease." The CDC says health workers and the general public should be on guard, although they don't consider the Super Bowl in Phoenix an area of special concern. (More measles stories.)

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