Measles cases in California soar

Feb. 2, 2015

The California Department of Public Health released the latest numbers last week of confirmed cases since December and while the total is still small, the jump was a startling 54% in just more than a week.

Most of the 58 cases are linked to an outbreak at Disneyland in mid-December. Health officials say 40 of the cases were employees or park patrons, while 18 of the cases were secondary infections. The disease outbreak became apparent when visitors reported coming down with measles after visiting the park from December 15 to December 20. At least five Disney employees have been diagnosed with measles, says a Disney spokesperson.

Measles is a highly communicable respiratory disease caused by a virus and spread through the air. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, which means it is no longer native to the United States but continues to be brought in by international travelers. Last year, the United States had its most number of measles cases—at 644—since 2000, says the CDC.

In the first 28 days of January alone, 84 measles cases were reported in 14 states, including California, according to the CDC. The larger California statistic that the state released Friday encompasses December and January. New cases are being reported regularly, as are public notices for those who might have interacted with infected people.

Read the CNN report