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Disneyland Ground Zero for Measles Outbreak

January 25, 2015
Plain English Version


Measles was declared over in the year 2000. A case here and a case there did not mean the disease was a problem.

Now there has been an outbreak of measles. It started in Disneyland in California. More than 70 cases have been reported.

A doctor says the Disneyland outbreak “has the potential to develop into one of the worst outbreaks since 1989.”

From 1989 to 1991, U.S. doctors diagnosed more than 55,000 measles cases. In response, Congress funded the Vaccines for Children Program. The program provides free shots to lower-income kids.

The outbreak is said to have spread from someone who arrived from abroad. Most of the cases are in California. Most of those who are ill were not vaccinated. Several cases have landed in the hospital.

A California health official advised unvaccinated people not to visit Disneyland. He also said such people should avoid places like international airports. A Disneyland spokesperson said she agreed with the advice that “it is absolutely safe to visit if you are vaccinated.”

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness. It is spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. Symptoms include fever followed by cough, runny nose and a blotchy rash.

Officials blame the anti-vaccine movement for reducing the number of children being vaccinated. Some parents believe the measles vaccination can cause autism . This belief has proven not to be true.

Different states have different rules for allowing unvaccinated children to attend school. Religious and other “belief systems” in some states allow unvaccinated children  to attend school.

This new outbreak will renew the controversy.

Source: USA Today January 18, 2015

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