Public health officials have a strong warning for the anti-vaccination crowd. If you or your kids have not received the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine you should avoid Disney parks where the virus has spread.

Seventy cases have been confirmed at the Disneyland parks, with new cases diagnosed on Monday. 62 of the cases are localized in California, but the measles outbreak has spread to five states and Mexico.

State epidemiologist Gil Chavez says the recommendation for Disney is “for the time being.” Measles is highly contagious and those not immunized against it should avoid Disney and other laces with a high concentration of international travellers – such as airports.

People that do have the MMR vaccination can ignore the warning. The vaccine affords you the protection to go about your Disney adventure. Suzi Brown, a Disneyland spokeswoman, agreed with the advice “it’s absolutely safe to visit if you’re vaccinated.”

Five of the seventy that fell ill were Disney employees. Three have since recovered and returned to work. Disney has instituted a policy for those coming into contact with infected tourists – prove your vaccination or undergo a blood test for immunity. The resort has offered all employees vaccinations.

Health officials are cautioning that they may never find ‘patient zero,’ but they believe it was a resident of another country, or a Californian that has recently been abroad.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can spread by air through coughing or sneezing. The virus has been eradicated in the United States since 2000, but the disease can get into the country via an infected traveller.

This outbreak also reminds parents to think long and hard about avoiding vaccinations. Two dozen unvaccinated students in Orange County were sent home for three weeks after an infected student showed up in class. Should you be risking your kids on research that was completely false?

IMG Credit: Wikipedia / Cd637

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