Anti-Vaxxers Not Content To Ruin Public Health, Are Also Ruining Disneyland
California health officials are warning people who have not been vaccinated to stay away from Disneyland. Did you hear that folks? The happiest place on earth is also a swirling mess of preventable disease right now, thanks in part to the many vaccine deniers Southern California houses.
Well, no one is actually blaming them directly, but they should be. Thanks to something called the “Personal Beliefs Exemption,” California parents (most from wealthy, coastal towns) have been backing out of immunization requirements for their children. The result? Some communities have entering kindergarten classes with dangerously high exemption rates.
The LA Times reports “health experts say that conditions for an outbreak worsen when 8% or more of the population is not immunized.” Stats for 2014 that fewer California parents are refusing vaccinations, but some counties’ exemption rates are still dangerously high:
In the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, the rate fell from 14.8% to 11.5%; Capistrano Unified in south Orange County declined from 9.5% to 8.6%; Beverly Hills Unified declined from 11.9% to 5%; and Laguna Beach Unified declined from 15.1% to 2%, according to The Times’ analysis.
The LA times also reports, “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.” Okay. That is pretty terrifying.
So back to Disneyland. NBC News reports the potentially deadly virus has already infected 70 people in six states and Mexico. Dr. Gil Chavez, state epidemiologist for California, told reporters. “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.”
Will this be enough of a scare to prove to vaccine deniers that diseases like measles are, in fact, dangerous and need to be vaccinated against? They have been piggybacking on herd immunity for long enough. It looks like that is not going to cut it anymore. Look at this completely disturbing CDC graph:
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 23, 2015
Maybe a resurgence like this will be what it takes to get parents to take vaccines seriously again. Let’s just hope the damage hasn’t already been done, and that we can actually get a handle on this.
(photo: Getty Images)