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Health officials: Disneyland visitors may be at risk in California measles outbreak

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Nine cases of measles have been confirmed in people who visited Disneyland or its adjacent California Adventure park in late December, state health officials said on Wednesday, urging anyone who may have been exposed to contact a doctor.

All nine of the confirmed cases are in people who visited at least one of the two amusement parks in Anaheim between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, said Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health.

Chapman said three more suspected cases in people who were at one of the parks during that time frame were under investigation.

“Based on information from current cases, it is likely that a person infectious with measles was at one of the theme parks on these dates,” Chapman said, adding that patients infected with the virus could be infectious for nine days.

“If you have symptoms, and believe you may have been exposed, please contact your health care provider,” he said. “The best way to prevent measles and its spread is to get vaccinated.”

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He said the infected patients ranged in age from 8 months to 21 years and that six were unvaccinated for measles, two of them because they were too young. One of the patients had received the appropriate vaccination

Measles typically begins with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by the appearance of a red rash that typically starts on the face and spreads downward.

Chapman said seven of the confirmed cases and three of the suspected cases were people living in California. The other two confirmed cases involved Utah residents who visited the amusement parks during the relevant time period.

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Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a statement the company was working with the California health department to provide information and assistance.

Measles is a sometimes deadly viral disease that can spread very swiftly among unvaccinated children.

There is no specific treatment and most people recover within a few weeks. But in poor and malnourished children and people with reduced immunity, measles can cause serious complications including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia.

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In 2013, more than 70 percent of global measles deaths were in six countries – India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney)


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Iceland tries to bring back trees razed by the Vikings

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Before being colonised by the Vikings, Iceland was lush with forests but the fearsome warriors razed everything to the ground and the nation is now struggling to reforest the island.

The country is considered the least forested in Europe; indeed, forests in Iceland are so rare, or their trees so young, that people often joke that those lost in the woods only need to stand up to find their way.

However, it wasn't always that way.

When seafaring Vikings set off from Norway and conquered the uninhabited North Atlantic island at the end of the ninth century, forests, made up mostly of birch trees, covered more than a quarter of the island.

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With plant closures looming, GM, Fiat Chrysler warn workers auto industry facing tough future

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With plant closures hanging over the start of contract negotiations, General Motors chief Mary Barra on Tuesday warned the United Auto Workers union that the industry is facing a difficult road ahead.

Barra opened talks with labor at the traditional handshake ceremony, emphasizing that the company must be prepared to change to be better positioned for the future.

"In a transforming industry, if we want our company to grow -- and grow jobs -- we can't keep doing things the same way," she said.

GM has drawn the wrath of the UAW and President Donald Trump over plans to halt production at four US plants including a major one in Lordstown, Ohio, a state that could be key to Trump’s re-election bid in 2020.

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‘White Identity Politics’ and white backlash: How we wound up with a racist in the White House

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Today's Republican Party is the largest, most powerful and most dangerous white racist organization in the United States -- if not the world. Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is its leader. These are plain if not understated facts. No embellishment is needed. The examples are many.  Over the last few days Donald Trump has repeatedly dug into his bucket of racist political scatology, saying on Twitter and elsewhere that four nonwhite members of Congress ("Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen," as he mockingly put it) should leave America and go back to their own "crime infested" and "totally broken" countries.

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