Low vaccination rates are likely to blame for the measles outbreak in Disneyland, a study suggests.
127 people were infected with the measles early this year from an outbreak that started in Disneyland, California. According to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S., the vaccination rate of those who were exposed to the virus may be as low as 50% and is likely no higher than 86%.
“The 2015 Disneyland outbreak is quite possibly a direct consequence of the growing anti-vaccination movement in the United States,” said Maimuna Majumder, author of the study and a research fellow at Boston Children's Hospital.
“While researchers have certainly speculated that low vaccine rates might be to blame for the 2015 Disneyland measles outbreak, our study confirms this suspicion in a scientifically rigorous way,” she added.
The research, which was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, created a mathematical model from data collected from the California Department of Public Health and media-reported counts, and from there was able to capture the transmission of the virus as it spread beyond California.
A vaccination rate of 96% to 99% is necessary to prevent outbreaks, said Majumder, as the measles virus is highly contagious. Not only can it be transmitted through the air but it can also live on surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed at for as long as two hours.
Measles begins with a fever accompanied by coughs and runny nose that could last for a couple of days. Then, red rashes break out on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. When left untreated, complications caused by the virus could be fatal.
Sources: March 16, 2015. "Confirmed: Disneyland Measles Outbreak Linked to Low Vaccination Rates". livescience.com March 17, 2015. "Disneyland measles outbreak linked to low vaccine rate". nydailynews.com