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Vaccine Refusal Fueled Disneyland Measles Outbreak
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By Nancie George
Low vaccination rates played a large role in the measles outbreak that started in Disneyland and the Disney California Adventure Park last December, according to a new research letter published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Researchers calculated that vaccination rates among the people who were exposed to the virus might have been as low as 50 percent and likely no higher than 86 percent. Because measles is the most contagious virus among humans, vaccination rates of 96 to 99 percent are critical to ensure herd, or community, immunity and outbreak prevention.
"Clearly, based on the number of infections we have seen so far, we can say that [the current vaccination rate] is far below the level necessary to achieve herd immunity," lead author Maimuna Majumder of Boston Children's Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tells Reuters Health.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms 176 measles cases since the outbreak began. Of those cases, 133 were reported in California residents, reports the California Department of Public Health. For the JAMA analysis, researchers investigated the role that lack of vaccination played in the measles outbreak by analyzing the California outbreak data.
"Disneyland is an international attraction and sometimes people are coming from places where measles vaccination rates are low or they don't get the recommended two doses, and that, combined with the fact that there are a lot of pockets of non-vaccination in California and people coming from all over the U.S. created the perfect storm for a big outbreak," Majumder says.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
We want to know:Are you surprised that low vaccination rates have been linked to the Disneyland measles outbreak?
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