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Oklahoma reports first case of measles in 18 years

By
Danielle Haynes

STILLWATER, Okla., March 27 (UPI) -- Oklahoma has recorded its first case of measles in 18 years just months after an outbreak of the disease sickened more than 130 people in California.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health issued a release Friday saying the spouse of an Oklahoma State University student who lives off campus in Stillwater has been diagnosed with the disease. The patient was identified as an international traveler to the state.

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No other information was released about the patient or where they were being treated.

The recent outbreak in California -- with ties to the state's Disneyland theme parks -- has sparked a national debate about the pros and cons of getting children vaccinated against the disease.

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President Barack Obama even weighed in on the controversy, urging parents to vaccinate their children.

The California Department of Public Health's most recent status update on measles says there have been no new cases in the state since March 13. The outbreak will be considered over within the state once there have been no new cases in 42 days. If there are no further cases, that will be April 17.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says measles is "highly contagious" and can live on surfaces outside the body for up to two hours.

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"Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected," the CDC says.

Measles is characterized by a rash, fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.

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