The number of people who have gotten sick with the measles virus at the Disneyland Theme Park has raised concern and controversy. The concerns is how visitors of the park may unintentionally be exposed to the illness and carry it back with them to their home states or countries; since Disneyland is a world-wide destination, it is a very valid concern. The measles outbreak at Disneyland also has brought forth controversy about the need to vaccinate versus the belief that vaccinations are not always necessary. Now, more than ever, it is the responsibility of adults to make sure that they and their children are vaccinated, not only for their own well-being, but also for the family, friends and public they may contact. However, many parents and adults waive the vaccinations, and by doing so, they become walking hazards to the general public.
To date, 95 people have become ill from measles after visiting Disneyland. Eight states have confirmed cases: Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The majority of the cases are in California. Unfortunately, the measles have also spread outside of the US to the country of Mexico. One reason measles has spread so fast is due to the nature of the virus. The measles virus lives in the nose and throat mucus membranes and it can travel by air and physical contact. In addition, the virus can live up two hours after leaving the body. Since it is so easily transferrable and remains active for a couple of hours, it is no wonder that the number of measles cases contracted at Disneyland keeps growing.
The Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is readily available within the US and recommended by health care professionals. However, many people decide against vaccination for varying reasons. The following list include the top reasons many feel that vaccinations are not necessary.
Lack of Knowledge
People are afraid of the unknown. Therefore, it is understandable that some would be leery of a chemical injected in their body, much less their child’s body. Although the MMR vaccine has been proven effective repeatedly. Some would rather roll the dice and avoid the vaccine than take a chance on proven science.
“It’s just a common Childhood Illness”
Although measles mostly occurs during childhood, the virus should not be taken lightly. Measles is the deadliest of childhood illnesses. In third-world countries, blindness is a common result of the virus. Furthermore, measles can act as a catalyst for other serious condition like pneumonia and swelling of the brain. In the US measles is associated with childhood, but other at-risk groups are college students, pregnant women and people who work in the health care industry.
Family and friends have a strong influence when it comes to decision-making. Many social communities have their own belief system, which frown upon medical interference. In those communities, many believe in holistic healing or self-healing. To avoid being ostracized those needing vaccines will instead practice what the community believes although they know vaccinations will help avoid MMR.
The reasons given are just a few on why some choose not to vaccinate their child. However, making sure children and adults are protected from MMR should not be the only reason for vaccination; it is a social responsibility. If everyone ensured that they were vaccinated and free of anything that could make others sick, then there would be no Disneyland measles crisis and no reason to make those unwilling to vaccinate themselves or their child accountable.
Mark Sadaka is a vaccine injury lawyer who represents numerous clients from around the country. Sadaka’s firm has the resources and expertise necessary to successfully handle these medically complex cases. Go to Vaccine Injury Help Center if you have a vaccine related injury.