Disneyland calls itself the happiest place on earth. People come from all over the world to enjoy its pleasures. This unfortunately also makes it an ideal incubator for massive spreading of disease. In January of 2015, Disneyland wasn't such a happy place for the people who were infected in an outbreak of measles.
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases because it can linger in the air for more than two hours after an infected measles patient has left the room. For example, someone with measles can infect from 12 to 18 people, while someone with influenza can infect from one to four people, reported USA Today.
While the two measles vaccines are 97 percent effective, parents may have developed a false sense of security about measles, because measles had been eradicated from the United States since 2000.
A study in 2010 study found that almost 40 percent of parents with toddlers skipped or delayed a childhood vaccination. The measles vaccination rates varied greatly by state.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 82 percent of Colorado kindergarten children had the recommended two doses of the measles vaccine, versus 100 percent of kindergarten students in Mississippi, who were fully vaccinated against measles.
Also, there has been misinformation about the possibility of vaccines leading to autism.
The autism argument began in 1998, when a study published by Andrew Wakefield, M.D., a British physician, circulated on the Internet. This argument was further promoted by some celebrities. In 2010, the British journal Lancet retracted the story, because medical officials found the author was guilty of misconduct. The author was stripped of his ability to practice medicine, because he accepted more than $675,000 from an attorney, who was hoping to sue vaccine manufacturers, reported USA Today.
Since 1998, more than 14 scientific studies have found no link between measles vaccines and autism. According to USA Today, "Seven have found no link between autism and thimerosal, a preservative no longer used in childhood vaccines. And two studies have failed to find any link between autism and the number of vaccines a child gets."
According to Paul Offit, MD, director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, vaccines are extremely safe.
Another possible reason for parental concern may be the increase in vaccinations. Since 1980, child vaccinations has doubled and children can receive more than 20 injections by their first birthday.
In a recent article on Parent.com, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend that healthy children get vaccinated against 14 diseases by 2 years old, with boosters later for some, along with an annual flu inoculation.
Loehrke, Janet, and Liz Szabo. "The Measles Outbreak and Vaccine Controversy, Visualized." USA Today. Gannett, 05 Feb. 2015. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.
King Heyworth, Kelley. "Vaccines: The Reality Behind the Debate." Parents.com. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.
Reviewed Sept 1, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith