California health officials confirmed that six new measles cases are connected to an outbreak at Disney theme parks last month, bringing the total number of illnesses to 32.
The new cases of the airborne illness include five in Los Angeles County and one in San Diego County. Craig Sturak with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency said Thursday that the latest case in his area posed no threat of public exposure.
Officials also awaited measles test results on five people who showed up with fevers and rashes Wednesday at a health clinic in La Mesa, an east San Diego suburb.
The Sharp Rees-Stealy Urgent Care Center closed for about six hours after the patients arrived, spokeswoman Frances Schnall said. The five were released about three hours later, and the clinic reopened after allowing fresh air to circulate.
About 40 patients at the clinic Wednesday were questioned about their measles and vaccination histories, and none believed they were at risk, Schnall said. Their answers were given to county health officials, and they were released.
Until test results come in, it's unclear if the La Mesa patients are related to the measles outbreak at Disney parks.
Officials said 28 of the confirmed cases are in California, two are in Utah and one apiece in Colorado and Washington.
Most of the patients visited Disneyland or Disney California Adventure between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, but some may have contracted the illness from others who visited.
Disney officials have said they are working with public health authorities to provide any necessary assistance.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in an infected person's nose and throat mucus and spreads through coughing and sneezing, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes and a red rash that usually first appears on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.
Health experts say the best prevention against measles is vaccination. While officials declared measles eliminated in the United States in 2000 because of a lack of continuous transmission, the illness is still brought into the country by foreign visitors or unvaccinated Americans.
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