How safe are theme parks from communicable diseases? If you take into account what happened in Disney Land just recently, your answer would probably be “not very”.
Nine visitors in either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim were confirmed infected with measles while staying there between December 15 and December 20. This is according to health officials in both Utah and California.
Three more suspected cases remained unconfirmed as announced by the California Department of Public Health.
Measles is caused by air borne virus classified as respiratory disease. It was supposed to have been stamped out completely in the United States since 2000. However there was a record breaking outbreak last year with 610 confirmed cases, “the highest number since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000,” CDC announced on its website.
These highly popular theme parks attract a lot of visitors from different parts of the world, which include countries where the incidence of this very infectious disease is very high. This must be the case here according to California health officials.
“Travelers to areas where measles is endemic can bring measles back to the U.S., resulting in limited domestic transmission of measles,” read a statement from California Department of Public Health. “Disney and other theme parks in California are international attractions and visitors come from many parts of the world, including those where measles is endemic.”
Dr. Pamela Hymel, Disney’s chief medical officer, issued a brief statement: “We are working with the health department to provide any information and assistance we can.”
As for symptoms, “measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat,” according to the CDC.
Those showing such symptoms shouldn’t be bashful about seeing their doctor, because a full body rash is likely to break out next. “If you have symptoms, and believe you may have been exposed, please contact your health care provider,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, California’s state health office.
Chapman says prevention is the key: “The best way to prevent measles and its spread is to get vaccinated.”