Health officials are warning visitors to steer clear of Disneyland, California unless they’re vaccinated.
Any babies under the age of 1, who are too young to receive the vaccine, and those people who for whatever reason have no been vaccinated, are being told not to visit the theme park.
NBC News reports:
“People ask whether it is safe to visit venues where measles has been identified and may be circulating. The answer is yes, considering you have been fully vaccinated,” Dr. Gil Chavez, state epidemiologist for California, told reporters. “Parents of infants may consider staying away.”
The highly contagious and potentially deadly virus has already infected at least 70 people in six states and in Mexico. And given that people from all over the world visit Disneyland, it’s almost certain there will be many more cases in more places. The latest new case: an Arizona woman in her 50s who visited the theme park in December.
“Parents of infants may consider staying away.”
“We have had, in two and a half weeks, as many cases as we had in all of last year (in California),” Chavez said. “From this particular outbreak, we can expect to see additional cases.”
Infectious disease experts say to expect many more cases. Measles is one of the most infectious viruses known. It spreads through the air and can linger in a room after the sick person has left. People can spread it before they even have symptoms, and measles may look like flu in some people before they develop the characteristic red rash.
Measles is more contagious than polio, smallpox or flu. In an unvaccinated population, each measles patient can be expected to infect 11 to 18 others. The only infection that comes close is whooping cough. Compare that to the worst pandemic influenza, in which one patient infects two or three others directly, or the AIDS virus, in which one patient can infect on average two to five others.
“People who are unvaccinated should know that there is presently a risk for getting measles in California,” Chavez said. He’s urging anyone who is not vaccinated to get the shot now.
People who have had measles or who have been vaccinated generally aren’t at risk. But 90 percent of unvaccinated people with no immunity will catch measles if they breathe it in or come in contact with it in some other way.
And measles has a 21-day incubation period, which means people who have been infected can travel far and wide before they get sick and alert a doctor.