MANILA, Philippines – Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the measles outbreak linked to Disneyland is identical to the virus type responsible for large outbreaks in the Philippines in 2014.
The virus in California “shares the same genetic material as the type most commonly found in the Philippines,” according to a February 17 report of the LA Times.
The genetic analysis used the measles virus found in 30 California patients. While the laboratory tests point to the Philippines, how it reached the United States is still a mystery. (READ: Disneyland measles outbreak puts California on alert)
The Philippines saw an upsurge of measles cases at the start of 2014. By August 2014, the health department admitted the Philippines had “exported” the highly-contagious disease to countries like the United States, Japan, Australia, and Singapore.
The country wants to reach a measles-free status by 2017.
Outbreak ‘started from a traveler’
From December 28, 2014 to February 13, 2015, the CDC reported that 125 people from 7 US states are part of the measles outbreak linked to Disneyland. (READ: Disney measles outbreak spreads to more US states, Mexico)
The CDC however clarified that in the past 6 months, the measles virus type has also been identified in 14 other countries and at least 6 US states not related to the current outbreak.
“The outbreak likely started from a traveler who became infected overseas with measles, then visited the amusement park while infectious. However, no source has been identified,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Dr Matt Zahn, the medical director of epidemiology for Orange County, also told LA Times the recent cases seen in California “likely all relate to that individual that began at Disneyland.”
The recent outbreak, which has spread to more US states, highlights the importance of measles vaccination in the country.
The LA Times report said most of the patients of the Disneyland measles outbreak were unvaccinated. Of the 63 patients with vaccination records:
- 49 were “completely unvaccinated”
- 28 were “intentionally unvaccinated due to a parent’s personal beliefs”
- 1 was on an “alternative plan for vaccination”
- 12 were “too young to be immunized”
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