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Two more cases of measles confirmed in Orange County

The total count of measles cases in Orange County is now at 20. (Thinkstock)
The total count of measles cases in Orange County is now at 20. (Thinkstock)

Two more cases of measles were confirmed in Orange County, bringing the tally to 20, Orange County Health Care Agency officials said today.

One of the patients visited Disneyland, where the outbreak was initially detected in December. It was unclear where the other person got the highly contagious virus characterized by skin rashes, according to Nicole Stanfield of the OC Health Care Agency.

So far, a dozen patients afflicted with measles visited Disneyland, she said.

On Tuesday, officials said five Disneyland employees were among an outbreak of measles patients — with three already healthy enough to return to work.

“As soon as the Orange County Health Care Agency notified us on Jan. 7, we immediately began to communicate to our (employees) to raise awareness,” said Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.”In an abundance of caution, we also offered vaccinations and immunity tests. To date, a few (employees) have tested positive and some have been medically cleared and returned to work. Cast members who may have come in contact with those who were positive are being tested for the virus. While awaiting results, they have been put on paid leave until medically cleared.”

The three people healthy enough to return to work were among those who contracted the virus in mid-December, officials said.

One of the five children with measles had been vaccinated but the four others had not, Stanfield said. She did not know if any the adults diagnosed with the virus had been immunized.

Orange County officials reiterated the importance of vaccines. Those who get sick despite getting vaccinated will only experience “mild illness” and are not likely to be contagious, Stanfield said.

Anyone who believes they have measles was urged to call their doctor’s office before going to be examined to prevent spreading the virus, which is contained in sneezes and coughs.

About two dozen unvaccinated students were sent home from Huntington Beach High School for three weeks.

A student with measles was on campus from Jan. 6 to Jan. 8, possibly spreading the contagious disease, according to a letter to parents from Matt Zahn, medical director for epidemiology at the Orange County Health Care Agency.

KPCC quoted Huntington Beach High School principal Rocky Murray as saying Friday that 24 students were sent home, including the one who had measles.

Students are expected to return to school Jan. 29.

State law requires schoolchildren to get the MMR shots to protect against measles, mumps and rubella. But parents who believe there are links between the vaccines and medical conditions such as autism can get an exemption by signing a personal belief waiver.

The link between autism and vaccinations has been widely rejected by a consensus of scientists.

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