The number of California measles cases linked to the two Disney theme parks has climbed to 22, with several additional suspect cases under evaluation. according to California Department of Public Health officials today.

Public domain image/National Atlas of the United States
Public domain image/National Atlas of the United States

Cases with travel to Disneyland report visiting the park from December 17th-December 20th, 2014. The incubation period for anyone exposed at Disneyland on these dates ended on January 10th, 2015, health officials note.

The 22 California cases are broken down by county or local health jurisdiction: Alameda (3), Los Angeles (1), Long Beach (1), Orange (9), Pasadena (1), Riverside (2), San Bernardino (2), San Diego (2) and Ventura (1).

Other cases linked to the Disney parks are reported from Utah, Colorado and Washington State.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It is widespread in many parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and Asia. Measles begins with a fever that lasts for a couple of days, followed by a cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis (pink eye), and a rash. The rash typically appears first on the face, along the hairline, and behind the ears and then affects the rest of the body. Infected people are usually contagious from about 4 days before their rash starts to 4 days afterwards.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of the MMR vaccine for prevention: the first at 12 months of age, and the second between ages 4 – 6.

Related: California pertussis cases top 10,000 for 2014

Complications from measles are more common in children younger than 5 years old and adults 20 years and older. Complications can include diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia. Death can occur from severe complications and the risk is higher among younger children and adults. There is no treatment for measles. Bed rest, fluids and fever control are recommended. People with complications may need treatment for their specific problem.

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