Two Disney-Linked Measles Cases Confirmed in Marin County Children

Two cases of Disney-linked measles have been confirmed in Marin County, the health department said on Thursday, and both children were unvaccinated.

Their names and ages were not released, though the county health department said they are related. The infection occurred outside the county when they contracted the disease, Marin's Public Health Officer Dr. Matthew Willis and in this case, there is no need to bar other unvaccinated children from school. He confirmed that the cases are indeed linked to the Disney outbreak that was first reported in December.

The two children join the 91 and counting people who have confirmed and documented cases of measles in California as of Friday afternoon, according to the California Department of Public Health. Of those cases, 58 are epidemiologically linked to Disney, and the remaining cases have no known link to the Southern California Disney parks.

In the Bay Area, Alameda County has had six case of confirmed Disney-related measles. Also, on Friday, a preschooler was diagnosed with measles in Ventura County, stemming from a Disney park exposure. Three cases have been confirmed in San Mateo County.

Health officials on Friday also confirmed the first measles case in Solano County this year.

Though Marin Health and Human Services did not describe how old the people with measles are, the agency posted on its website that by law in California, unvaccinated children will be kept out of school for 21 days if there is a case on campus. But Willis said in this case, there was no need to do that because "there is no evidence for school-based exposure."

There are many people who choose not to vaccinate, citing a "personal belief" exemption. There are a high number of those people in highly educated Marin County, the Bay Area county with the highest vaccination exemption rate of 6.5 percent in 2014-15. However, Willis noted that the number of Marin parents choosing these exemptions has decreased by 18 percent since 2012. Nevada County in California has the highest personal-belief exemption rate with a 21 percent opt out rate, according to the Department of Health.

"I actually respect a parent's ability to choose in a variety of areas," Marin County Superintendent of Schools Jane Burke said on Friday. "However, I think we should take note of what they do in Sweden where it's a civic responsibility to be immunized because we indeed need to protect those unable to young infants and older people."

She said she is doing everything in her power to garner a "sea change" to educate people on the importance of vaccinations. She credited Kaiser Permanente for sending out robo calls to people in the community to remind them to get their shots.

Some doctors are refusing to see children whose parents won't get them vaccinated against the disease. 

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