A measles outbreak that appears to be linked to tourists visiting the Disneyland Resort has now spread to four states and public health officials are blaming the anti-vaccine movement on the quick spread of the disease.
According to CBS News, of the 26 reported cases that date back to mid-December, half of those infected had not received the measles vaccination:
“Around the world, we’ve seen big outbreaks of measles. … There’s more of a chance of the virus coming to us,” said Dr. Matt Zahn, medical director of Orange County Health Care Agency. “The other issue that we know is that some communities are certainly seeing immunization rates drop and so there’s a combination there of risk factors.”
Here in the U.S., measles infections have skyrocketed. More than 600 cases were reported last year, the highest number since 2000. The virus is highly contagious and can take up to 12 days to show up. Symptoms include cough, fever and a rash. The resurgence of this disease, once believed to have been eliminated, has doctors concerned.
“Getting everybody vaccinated is so important because trying to contain these infections can really be difficult,” Zahn said. “There’s a lot information out there that can be confusing or contradictory, and if people don’t get immunized as a result, that’s a problem.”
Skipping shots has become a growing trend in parts of California. Last year, parents turned in more than 13,000 “personal beliefs exemptions” informing the state that their children would be opting out of recommended vaccines.
That’s more than twice the number of kids who aren’t fully vaccinated compared to 10 years ago.