The Short of It
Nine visitors to Disneyland last month didn't only take home a pair of souvenir Mickey Mouse ears—they also got the measles. Seven California and two Utah cases have been confirmed, and officials say the patients likely contracted the disease on trips to Disney theme parks in California.
All the patients with confirmed or suspected cases of measles visited Disneyland or Disney California Adventure between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, according to the California's Department of Public Health. The seven Californians range in age from 8 months to 21 years old. Six weren't vaccinated against the disease, which included two who were too young to be vaccinated.
Three more California residents are suspected of having measles, which is highly infectious for nine days. Health officials said it's likely that a single person with the disease exposed the other visitors, and there isn't much the theme park could've done to prevent transmission since measles is airborne.
"The best way to prevent measles and its spread is to get vaccinated," said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California's Department of Public Health, in a statement.
Disney officials said they hadn't received any reports of staff contracting measles.
"We are working with the health department to provide any information and assistance we can," said Dr. Pamela Hymel, the chief medical officer of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Measles had largely vanished in the United States, but there has been an increase in confirmed cases in the last few years because of the anti-vaccination movement. In certain school districts in New York and Los Angeles, fewer kids are getting vaccinated than in third world countries, where the vaccine is not readily available. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that more measles cases were reported in the United States in 2014 than during any year over the past two decades.
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