ANAHEIM, Calif., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- The measles outbreak that has ties to California's Disneyland theme parks has shot to nearly 80, with confirmed cases in seven states and Mexico.
The California Department of Public Health said of the 68 confirmed cases in the state, 48 are directly tied to the Disneyland parks and 20 have no known Disney link. There are another 11 cases in six other states -- Utah (3), Washington (2) and one each in Colorado, Oregon, Nebraska and Arizona -- and one in Mexico. It's being called the worst measles outbreak in the state in 15 years.
Public health investigators said the outbreak started at a Disneyland theme park in December. It has become so alarming that California health officials recommended that those who are unvaccinated and children under 12 stay away from the theme parks.
"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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Even though California requires children get to vaccinations to protect against measles, some parents choose to opt out because they believe vaccines cause autism, despite numerous scientific studies to the contrary. Many of the confirmed cases in California are in areas known to support the anti-vaccination movement.
Officials have also recommended that adults who received their first measles vaccines in the 1960s, '70s and '80s get a second to protect against the disease.