Nine People Infected With Measles After Visits to Disney Parks

At least nine people came down with the measles after visiting Disneyland or the adjoining Disney California Adventure Park last month, probably by contracting it from somebody there, California’s health department said.

The confirmed cases include seven in five different California cities and two in Utah, the agency said today in a statement. California has three other suspected cases, it said. The confirmed California patients range in age from 8 months to 21 years, and all but one hadn’t been vaccinated.

The state is tracing the contacts the patients have had to determine the spread of the disease, a respiratory infection that causes a rash and can lead to pneumonia. While the measles is relatively rare in the U.S. because a vaccine is available, it persists in other countries, making international tourist destinations like Disneyland vulnerable.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 20 measles outbreaks through November of last year, leading to 610 cases -- a record since the disease was temporarily eliminated in 2000.

Two of the unvaccinated patients in the California cases were too young to get the vaccine, the health department said. Only one patient in the state had received the recommended two doses of the vaccine, which are more than 99 percent effective in preventing the measles, the agency said.

“We are working with the health department to provide any information and assistance we can,” said Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer of Walt Disney Co.’s theme park unit, in a statement.