Thirty babies have been placed under home isolation in Alameda County after possible exposure to measles, as California grapples with the outbreak that originated at Disneyland, the LA Times reported.
Officials with the Alameda County Public Health Department have contacted 500 people possibly connected to measles patients, and have asked parents of the 30 infants to keep their children home to avoid further exposure to the illness.
Department spokeswoman Sherri Willis told the LA Times that the babies are not infected, but had some contact or connection to measles patients in Alameda County.
“It is our job to try to determine who has been exposed,” Willis told the newspaper.
There are 87 confirmed cases across seven states and Mexico, and officials say most of the cases are in California. There are five confirmed cases in Alameda County, four of which are linked to the Disneyland outbreak, according to the LA Times.
“Measles is in the community,” Willis told the newspaper. “You don’t have to be connected,” she said.
Measles has been spreading since an outbreak linked to visits to California Disney parks last month. Most of those infected were not vaccinated, and health officials have urged people to get the shot.
Measles is a contagious illness spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. It was largely eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but it can enter the country from abroad and spread among an unvaccinated population. The U.S. experienced a record number of measles cases last year, with 644 infections reported from 27 states.
Symptoms of the highly contagious illness include fever, cough, runny nose and a telltale rash. Common complications include ear infections, which occur in about one out of every 10 children diagnosed with measles and can result in permanent hearing loss. Diarrhea is also reported in less than one out of 10 people with measles.
As many as one out of every 20 children with measles also contracts pneumonia, which is the most common cause of death from measles in young children, according to the CDC. Measles may also cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely or have a low-birth-weight baby.
According to the CDC, 94.7 percent of kindergartners in the 2013-2014 school year were vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella. Public health officials are concerned however, about pockets in some communities where vaccinations rates are low.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.