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Measles flare-up expands

Cameron Fierro, 1, got a measles-mumps-rubella vaccination in Northridge, Calif.Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

NEW YORK — The measles outbreak tied to Disneyland continued to spread anxiety Friday as two new cases emerged overnight in Marin County in California — along with at least one in Nebraska — while Arizona officials warned that at least 1,000 people may have been exposed to the virus through seven others in that state.

Since Jan. 1, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed 84 measles cases in 14 states. California’s health department, which is updating a measles count more frequently, has linked more than 90 cases in the United States and Mexico to the Disneyland outbreak.


Concern about the highly contagious disease intensified Friday in several states, including Minnesota, where health officials are notifying hundreds of people who may have come into contact with a University of Minnesota student with measles.

There was also anxiety in Arizona, where thousands of people are arriving in Phoenix for the Super Bowl on Sunday. The disease centers are advising anyone with symptoms not to attend the game.

“The very large outbreaks we’ve seen around the world often started with a small number of cases,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the agency’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Officials in three counties in the Phoenix area — Maricopa, Gila, and Pinal — have asked residents who have not been vaccinated and who might have been exposed to stay home from school, work, or day care for 21 days. Schools in some other states are considering more formal bans on unvaccinated children.

Each case so far has spawned an exhaustive public health response.

News sites in Pennsylvania and other states are alerting readers when measles-infected individuals have visited local establishments, an effort to warn residents of exposure. And in places like New Mexico, where the number of unvaccinated children increased 17 percent from 2012 to 2014, health officials are warning that the disease could soon hit.


In Minneapolis, the Minnesota Department of Health said Friday that it is working with the University of Minnesota to manage the case of measles diagnosed in a 20-year-old male university student.

It has notified other students who may have been exposed, along with health officials at the hospital where he sought treatment.

Dr. Edward Ehlinger, Minnesota’s commissioner of health, emphasized that the potential risk to the general public is very low, but said people should take precautions to protect themselves and their children. In particular, he called on parents to make sure their children have been properly immunized.

In Nebraska, Leah Bucco-White, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said Friday that officials had confirmed two cases of measles in children in the eastern part of the state.

The first case is related to the Disneyland outbreak, Bucco-White said, but the origin of the second case was unclear.