Disneyland is supposed to be the place where dreams come true, but some visitors to the park recently came home with a nightmarish souvenir. Disneyland’s measles outbreak has now been linked to 59 people who have come down with the disease, though only 42 of those are confirmed to be directly sourced from the theme park. Victims range from the age of 70 years to just 7 months, reported NPR.
Some who were given the first round of measles vaccines might still be at risk. A major outbreak in 1989 caused federal guidelines to recommend an additional dose of the vaccine, though many never went back again, reported the Los Angeles Times. Those with only the first dose of measles have a 5 percent chance of catching the disease, while those with the second dose have only a 1 percent chance.
Dr. Gil Chavez, the state epidemiologist, is cautioning California citizens to make sure that they have been properly immunized in order to halt the spread of measles any further, reported the L.A. Times.
“Vaccination is safe and effective. With this outbreak in this state, we can expect to see many more cases of this vaccine-preventable disease unless people take precautionary measures… We have a particular responsibility to protect all of our infants in the state until they are old enough to vaccinated.”
Theme parks, especially those with a global reputation like Disneyland, are an extremely effective place to spread disease. Many foreign visitors, including from Asia and parts of Europe, where measles is far from eradicated. That, however, shouldn’t prevent you from going to Disneyland just to avoid a case of the measles, says Chavez. Unless you’re of the group of people, including infants under 6 months of age, who can’t yet be vaccinated.
“I think it is absolutely safe for you to go to Disneyland if you’re vaccinated… but I would recommend that infants are not taken to places like Disneyland today.”
Disneyland’s measles outbreak may have made infected workers and visitors in the park as late as earlier this month. Local health officials, like Orange County Public Health Officer Dr. Eric Handler, warn that widespread exposure to the virus could be quite problematic.
“There’s the tug here between a very effective vaccine and a very infectious virus. And so when you have a scenario where hundreds of people get exposed, then even if the vaccine is 99% good after two doses, you’re going to have a handful of people who are going to get sick.”
Will you be changing plans to visit Disneyland because of the measles outbreak?
[Image via Flickr]