Measles Cases Not Limited to the Unvaccinated

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Evidence suggests that the latest measles outbreak has spread beyond people who visited Disneyland between Dec. 17 and 20. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

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As the measles outbreak that began at Disneyland grew to at least 70 cases Wednesday, much of the attention has focused on how the vast majority of patients were not vaccinated for the highly contagious disease.

But some medical experts have also expressed concern about the five patients who contracted measles despite being fully vaccinated.

Their cases point to a lesser-known aspect of the measles vaccine: That even those who get the shots have a small risk of getting sick, especially older people who were immunized in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

Before 1989, federal guidelines recommended one dose of the measles vaccine. But after a major outbreak that began that year, leaving 55,000 sick and about 120 people dead nationwide, including 75 in California, officials called for a second dose.

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