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It’s over: Arizona health officials declare end to latest measles outbreak

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — A measles outbreak in Arizona, at one point the largest active outbreak in the United States, is over, state health officials said Monday.

The outbreak began in late May at the Eloy Detention Center, about 30 miles south of the Phoenix metro area. In all, 22 cases of measles linked to the facility were confirmed during the three-month outbreak.

Nine of the cases were workers at the facility and 13 were confirmed in detainees. It is believed a migrant detainee was the source of the outbreak.

“This was a challenging outbreak involving several key partners,” Thomas Schryer, director of the Pinal County Public Health Services District, said in a press release. “We were able to bring this outbreak to its conclusion because staff stepped up and received vaccination.”

Most of the cases were in Pinal County, but some were confirmed in Maricopa County, the most-populated county in the state.

“The intensive work our disease detectives performed during this outbreak helped us to track areas of public exposure, quickly publish that information, and stop further spread into the community,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said in the press release.

Measles is highly contagious and preventable through vaccines. It was eradicated in the US in 2000.

But the past couple of years have seen new cases in large part because of unfounded fears that the vaccination causes autism in children, Schryer said.

The symptoms are usually mild but can be deadly in babies, who cannot be immunized until they’re a year old.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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