Is the Anti-Vaccination Movement to Blame for Disneyland’s Measles Outbreak?
The so-called happiest place on Earth is the source of a continuous outbreak of a rare but potentially serious disease.
A measles outbreak began at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, when an infected person visited the park in December. It has now infected at least 20 people in three different states, with two new cases reported in Orange County on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times. As the airborne disease spreads, so too does the debate about the need for vaccinations in America.
While the virus with flu-like symptoms is still common in many parts of the world, measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000, owing to a highly effective vaccination program. But the formerly eradicated disease is now increasingly on the rise in the U.S., with a record number of more than 610 cases reported last year. That number is nearly triple the previous high in 2011, and the majority of those cases involve unvaccinated patients.
According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, half of the original six cases of Disneyland measles were contracted by unvaccinated children who were all old enough (at least four years old) to be vaccinated in two full doses. Of the three adults who initially contracted the disease, only one was fully vaccinated.
In recent years, measles have resurfaced around the country predominantly in communities that refuse to vaccinate. A 2013 outbreak in Texas was linked to a Christian megachurch whose televangelist minister had condemned the use of vaccines, comparing them with injecting a child with a sexually transmitted disease.