​Disneyland Measles Outbreak: Park Guests Contract Infectious Measles

Staff Reporter
Jan. 8, 2015

Disneyland has been linked to a measles outbreak with at least nine people so far since December. The California state Department of Public Health said they believe the disease began to spread after a person with infectious measles visited the theme park. All of the patients, along with three other people suspected of having measles, said they were at one or both of the Disney parks between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, according to USA Today.

“If you have symptoms and believe you may have been exposed, please contact your health care provider,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health.

Seven of the confirmed Disneyland cases are California residents, from Riverside, San Diego, Orange, Pasadena and Alameda. Two other cases are Utah residents. The three suspected cases are all California residents from the measles outbreak at Disneyland.

“The best way to prevent measles and its spread is to get vaccinated,” Dr. Chapman said.

Disneyland guests who contracted the measles outbreak are between the age of 8 months to 21 years old. Six of them were unvaccinated, and two being too young. Those who have symptoms, and believe may have been exposed, should contact their health care provider.

According to the state, measles generally begins with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. Within a few days a red rash appears, usually on the face then spreading down to the rest of the body. Measles is an infectious, airborne disease, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We are monitoring the situation…nothing is more important to us than the well being of our guests,” a spokesperson for Disneyland Resort said.

A total of 61 cases of measles were reported in California in 2014, said Carlos Villatoro, a public affairs officer at the CDPH. People with measles can be contagious for nine days. The virus that causes measles spreads very easily from one person to another, and can lead to serious illness and death.

While some visitors to Disneyland contracted measles from the outbreak, almost everyone who has received the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) is protected against the disease. All children older than 12 months should be vaccinated with two doses of MMR, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, 610 measles cases were documented in the United States, a record number of cases since 2000, when vaccination against measles brought the spread of the disease to a halt.

Travelers who visit Disneyland from another country may also be the cause for the measles outbreak. People who are infected can bring the virus into the United States and spread it to others in their communities. Such spread is more likely to happen in communities where the percentage of people who are vaccinated is below a certain threshold.

Health officials noted that Disneyland and other theme parks are international attractions and are visited by travelers from many parts of the world, including those where measles is endemic.

The Disneyland patients from the measles outbreak live in California. Six of the measles patients who were old enough to have received the vaccine were not vaccinated, and two were too young to be vaccinated, notes Reuters. One patient had received the vaccination.

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