If you haven’t been vaccinated for measles or chose to not have your children vaccinated, there’s one “happiest place on Earth” you should cross off your list of vacation destinations. Need I even say it?
California public health officials are urging unvaccinated folks to explore vacation options that don’t involve Mickey Mouse and ridiculously long lines to the Indiana Jones Adventure. The current number of reported people who have been infected with measles after a measles outbreak linked to California Disney parks is currently as high as 70, with new infections being reported as recently as Wednesday.
In a frantic effort to contain the outbreak, which is mainly concentrated in California but has spread to five U.S. states and Mexico, officials say that anyone who has not received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine should avoid Disney “for the time being,” according to epidemiologist Gil Chavez.
A spokeswoman from Disneyland Resorts echoed that sentiment but reassured others that “it’s absolutely safe to visit if you’re vaccinated.”
Many of us saw something like this coming. Regardless of where you stand on the vaccination debate, it’s difficult to argue with facts: The majority of those people infected, whose ages range from 7 months to 70 years old, had not received the MMR vaccine in their lifetime. Measles is highly contagious, and it would be irresponsible of health officials to not issue a warning to those thinking of traveling to Disney.
It doesn’t help that other measles reports have emerged from California this week, including news that a student at Huntington Beach High School had become infected with the virus and 24 unvaccinated students have been ordered to stay home for three weeks.
Measles is an airborne illness spread through coughing or sneezing. Symptoms include a high fever, followed by a runny nose, coughing, redness of the eyes and a rash that usually starts on the head and spreads down the body. The CDC cautions that you can catch measles simply by going into a room where a person who has measles has been, even long after he has left the room.
Call me unadventurous, but a spring break trip to the Western Rockies is looking better than ever.