Measles continues to spread as scientists urge parents to vaccinate children

Health officials confirm that more than 100 people have been infected with measles in the United States since December.

There are 91 confirmed cases in California alone, most linked to an outbreak at Disneyland, but the virus has made its way to New York as well.

A student at Bard College in Dutchess County, N.Y., sent shivers throughout the state Friday, after it was discovered that he had boarded an Amtrak train in Manhattan’s bustling Penn Station earlier in the week.

The infected individual traveled about 100 miles north and got off in Rhinecliff, N.Y., possibly exposing other commuters to the disease.

Officials with Bard College say that the student has been isolated during his recovery.

The New York State Department of Health released a statement advising anyone who may have been exposed to the airborne virus and exhibits symptoms  – a fever, runny nose or blotchy rash – to call their health care provider before going for care.

“This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness,” the statement reads.

New York State Law requires all college students to provide proof of of immunization to measles, among other diseases.

Authorities say there have been three confirmed cases of measles in New York State; two in New York City and one in Dutchess County.

The California Department of Public Health says that at least 58 of the state’s 91 cases involve people who went to Disneyland in Anaheim or had contact with someone who did.

Health officials suspect that the outbreak started after an infected person from another country visited the theme park between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20.

The Associated Press says that at least six other U.S. states have measles cases connected to the Disneyland outbreak: Colorado, Oregon, Nebraska, Arizona, Utah and Washington.

The national conversation has drifted back to the anti-vaccination movement. Anti-vaccination activists have convinced a small number of parents not to inoculate their children, arguing that vaccines can supposedly cause autism.

Scientists, on the other hand, say that the vaccines are safe and that the research fueling the anti-vaccination movement has been debunked.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to get inoculated for the disease.

The following day, the White House said parents should listen to the overwhelming consensus of scientists and public health officials.

“People should evaluate this for themselves, with a bias toward good science and toward the advice of our public health professionals,” said Josh Earnest, spokesman for President Barack Obama.

There have been no reported deaths in connection with the outbreak.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that was once quite common in the United States but declined significantly because of higher vaccination rates. By 2000, it had been declared officially eradicated from the United States.

 

 

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.