Disney-linked measles outbreak stemmed

Apr 17, 2015, 5:23 PM EDT
A children's doctor injects a vaccine against measles, rubella, mumps and chicken pox to an infant on February 26, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

California health authorities have declared an end to a massive measles outbreak that began in Disneyland, raged for months, and stimulated a national debate about vaccinations. The Associated Press reports:

Disease detectives for months raced to contain the highly contagious disease, which surfaced at Disney theme parks in December and spread to a half-dozen U.S. states, Mexico and Canada.
The outbreak sickened 147 people in the U.S., including 131 in California. There were no deaths.
Officials at the California Department of Public Health said no new infections have been reported for the past 42 days — or two incubation periods — meaning the outbreak is over in the U.S.
"Having this measles outbreak behind us is a significant accomplishment," said Dr. Gil Chavez, state epidemiologist.
Many who fell ill were not immunized against measles. Some cited personal reasons for refusing shots, and others were too young to get the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.
Health officials encouraged broader vaccinations to prevent future outbreaks of the disease.
"We are absolutely confident that if we had higher levels of immunity in the community this outbreak would not have happened," Chavez said on a conference call with reporters.
Across the United States, nearly 150 measles cases were linked to the outbreak that began in December at Disneyland and its adjacent California Adventure park in Anaheim, California, officials said.
It is believed to have started with a theme park visitor who had been exposed to measles overseas, Chavez said.