California is battling several measles cases clustered around the famous Disneyland theme park, despite the virus being eradicated in the United States since 2000. The California Department of Public Health reported on its website that 59 new cases of measles had been recorded since the end of December.
The health department said, "Of the confirmed cases, 42 have been linked to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California. Five of the cases involved Disney employees. Initial exposures occurred in December, but additional confirmed cases visited Disney parks while infectious in January."
Measles is a highly contagious disease and can be spread through the air without physical contact. Infection usually begins with a fever followed by a cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis and a rash on the body.
The health department said, "The spate of cases underscored the need for vaccinations against the illness. Twenty-eight cases from 34 for which data was available involved individuals who had not been vaccinated." Health authorities said the best protection for children remained the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. An anti-vaccination movement in recent years has emerged, particularly in North America, amid fears that the MMR vaccine causes autism, despite an array of studies which have contradicted those concerns.