Measles Outbreak at Disneyland: Why Did This Happen?!

Disneyland is no longer The Happiest Place on Earth, thanks to a serious measles outbreak. Forty-two people have contracted measles after visiting the park and nearby Disney California Adventure Park, according to the California Department of Public Health. Last Friday, the health department reported that people who entered the park were no longer at risk of contracting this potentially fatal disease. However, on Wednesday, they announced that a park employee had been diagnosed; therefore, the threat still remains.

How has the measles spread when we have a very effective vaccine against it? It turns out that 82% of people who were infected had NOT been vaccinated. Some were too young to be; however, others simply chose not to vaccinate. I know there are a number of anti-vaccine advocates, but it scary to see the repercussions of not vaccinating children playing out in real life like this. Not only are parents putting their own children in danger by not vaccinating them, parents are also putting other children who are too young to be vaccinated in danger.

Even though measles was considered eliminated in the United States in 2000, there were 644 cases of the disease last year, a record-breaking number, according to the CDC. Why are we moving backward instead of forward here? Anti-vaccine parents are literally giving diseases a second life by ignoring modern advances in medicine, and that really makes me angry.

I applaud Huntington Beach High School, which is located near Disneyland, for sending about two dozen of their students home because they didn't have proof of immunization. It all began when one student showed up to school after winter break with the disease. Can you imagine? I don't think any child who hasn't been vaccinated should be able to attend public school at any time, whether we are dealing with an outbreak or not.

There is no excuse for not vaccinating your child. I'm still hearing that vaccines cause autism, but it is simply not true. The risk of serious allergic reaction caused by a vaccine is very rare, and it is nothing compared to the risk of not getting vaccinated. Let's all get on board here and embrace what modern medicine has to offer us: the gift of a healthier, longer life.

Hannah Werthan is the assistant editor at Parents.com and is strongly pro-vaccine, though she screamed during each one as a child. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

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