• Rate This Page:
    (40 votes)
    Not So Magical: The Measles Outbreak at Disneyland

    The recent measles outbreak centered at Disneyland continues to develop, with almost 60 of the 78 reported cases now linked to the Magic Kingdom. With the large number of children not vaccinated against measles and other communicable diseases, the California Department of Public Health urges individuals who are not vaccinated to avoid high-traffic places like the theme park. Health officials also encourage those who have not yet been immunized to head into the doctor's office or nearest health clinic to get their vaccinations updated. As the outbreak has been traced back to a lack of measles vaccinations in Southern California and beyond, the following facts can help distinguish between the facts and myths about the disease as well as important information about vaccinations.

    8 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
    MYTH: Undocumented immigrants are causing the Disneyland measles outbreak.

    While Patient Zero of this particular measles outbreak is unknown, the fact remains that undocumented immigrants are not to blame. Instead, there are pockets of well-educated, upper middle class families in Southern California who have voluntarily not vaccinated their children. Because these children have not been vaccinated, there is not "community immunity" present to shut the disease down, so it spreads quickly.

    MYTH: The measles vaccine protects everyone from the disease.

    While vaccines protect the majority of a population against disease, no vaccine can protect each individual with one hundred percent effectiveness. This is by no means a reason to avoid getting vaccinated. Those without the protection of a vaccination are thirty-five times more likely to catch measles than an individual who has been vaccinated, and the measles vaccine has been shown to be 99% effective after the second dose.

    FACT: The Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine is 99% effective.

    The risks associated with the MMR vaccine are minimal, including fever, swollen glands, and mild seizure in a mere 3% of the population. Because the MMR vaccine has been used widely since 1971, there is breadth and depth of research that proves the vaccine is safe and effective.

    FACT: Refusing to be vaccinated puts children in danger.

    The Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine can only be given to children who are twelves months of age or older. When parents choose to not provide their children with the MMR vaccine, this decision automatically puts babies at risk.

    MYTH: Babies under 12 months of age are the only ones at risk from non-vaccinated individuals.

    Organizations like the Make a Wish Foundation do a significant amount of work with Disneyland. Kids with compromised immune systems or who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical conditions are put in considerable danger by those who choose not be vaccinated.

    FACT: Measles is an incurable disease.

    Even with medical treatment, measles can result in death or a wide range of disabilities. In addition to the sore throat, cough, high fever, and rash that develop with the measles, long-term consequences include deafness, brain damage, encephalitis, and pneumonia. While there is no cure, the MMR vaccination is an excellent option for preventing the measles.

    MYTH: Measles can never be eradicated.

    In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that the disease was no longer active in the United States, with no cases appearing for 12 months. However, measles effects people around the world, and it can be easily spread through the convenience of international travel. The only way to get rid of measles in the United States and around the world is to provide immunizations against it.

    FACT: Measles infects 90% of unprotected individuals.

    The disease is airborne, meaning that it can spread quickly and efficiently through air particles. The measles particles can survive for up to 2 hours, able to infect anyone hanging out and breathing air who has not been vaccinated against the disease. Research has shown that 9 out of 10 individuals who have not been immunized against measles will catch the disease.