Jan 19, 2015 3:00 PM by News Staff
More than 50 people have been diagnosed with the measles in an outbreak that began in December at California's Disneyland.
Cases have been reported in Utah, Colorado and Washington state. With cases now reported if four states, doctors warn many born before 1990 may need a booster vaccine.
"We are very concerned, and it's expanded much more rapidly than we thought," says pediatrician Dr. Robert Bjork.
The airborne virus is so contagious it can stick around after an infected person has left the room.
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.
Measles can lead to blindness and encephalitis, an infection of the brain. Children are typically immunized with a first dose of vaccine at 12 to 16 months and a second at 4- to 6-years-old.
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 United States in 2014, the worst year for measles in over a decade
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