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Unvaccinated People Shouldn't Go To Disneyland, The State Says

Disneyland at night (Photo by Ryan Resella via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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So it's come to this: the unvaccinated are being told they shouldn't go to Disneyland by state health officials. Due to a recent outbreak of measles linked to the Anaheim theme parks, California health officials are officially telling unvaccinated people not to go to the happiest place on Earth, KPCC reports.

According to state epidemiologist Gil Chavez, it's safe to go to Disneyland if you've been vaccinated, "because you don't have to worry about whether there have been recent cases or recent transmissions there. But if you are unvaccinated, I would worry about it." He also said that children who have or cannot be vaccinated should avoid Disneyland, as well as children under one year of age.

For those keeping count, there has been some discrepancy among news outlets as to the exact number of measles cases in the state, but the California Department of Public Health has linked 42 cases to Disneyland, NPR reports. Five of these cases involve Disneyland employees.

Additionally, 24 Orange County high school students have been banned from campus until January 29 because they lack documentation confirming they've been vaccinated against measles. While schools generally require vaccinations, parents have the option to sign a personal belief waiver to avoid the requirement. This behavior is particularly popular on Los Angeles' Westside, where both whooping cough and measles are on the rise.

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Health officials, in turn, can then require these unvaccinated people be quarantined. However, a South Pasadena woman was threatened with a misdemeanor recently after she refused to be quarantined after her sister contracted measles linked to Disneyland, saying she felt just fine. She did say said she would go check with a doctor to see if she needed a vaccine and would stay in if she was sick.

Officials think that the Disneyland outbreak began when someone with measles went to the parks sometime between December 17 and 20. This person was likely either a tourist from another country, or an American who had gone to another country and picked measles up. Officials say it is unlikely, however, that we will ever really know the Disneyland patient zero.

How much does not being vaccinated appear to be the cause of this outbreak? Well, 82 percent of the patients were unvaccinated, either because they were too young or didn't want to be, CNN reports.

In 2000, measles ha been mostly eliminated in the U.S. Last year, however, 61 people in California got measles. As for this outbreak, officials think things are going to be okay, but people really should get vaccinated.

Measles is a respiratory disease spread through the air via coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash covering the entire body. Symptoms occur appear between one and two weeks after being infected, and those who have it can be contagious up to four days before and after the rash begins to show. While there is no treatment for measles, most will recover after a few weeks. Chavez, however, cautioned that measles "is not a trivial illness," and said there can be severe consequences including hospitalization, pneumonia, encephalitis and death. Prior to the development of the measles vaccine, the disease killed about 500 people a year in the U.S.