Measles Outbreak Linked to Disneyland Gives Us a Look at How Many People Aren't Vaccinated

vaccineWith all the people touching all the things at theme parks, it shouldn't be surprising if you come down with a cold after a visit. But measles? That's certainly not expected. A measles outbreak that has stricken 19 people has been linked to Disney theme parks in California -- Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Nine cases were first reported with those falling ill between 8 months and 21 years old, but that number has doubled with people in three different states reporting they contracted the illness.


All those who have measles were at Disney between December 15 and December 20. Most of the patients are from California, but two are from Utah and one is from Colorado. There is some concern regarding the travel of those who were infected at the park but didn't know. Nicole Stanfield, a spokeswoman for the Orange County's health care agency in California, asked that if anyone has symptoms, they should call their health provider before heading out to a doctor's office or hospital to avoid the spread. Measles symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a red rash that often starts on the face.

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Last year marked the largest number of measles cases in California in two decades. With more people choosing to forgo the vaccine, this could spread easily if those infected aren't cautious. It's highly contagious and can spread through coughing and sneezing. Of the 16 cases in California, doctors say that only two were fully vaccinated against measles, some only partially and some were too young to receive the vaccine.

The measles vax is MMR, measles-mumps-rubella, and is often given at a child's 12 month and 4 year well doctor visit. Either many of these who have come down with measles are under 4, or some just never received the vaccination in its two doses or at all. 

Disney is working with the health department to do whatever necessary on their end. But what about parents? With more families choosing to skip vaccinations, the risk of getting measles rises. Though some fear the vax more than the virus.

Are you fearful of measles becoming an epidemic? What is your stance on the MMR vax?


Image via NIAID/Flickr

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