Officials: Keep kids without vaccines away from Disneyland

Elizabeth Orsini takes pictures of her hairband with the Sleeping Beauty's Castle in the background at Disneyland, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif. Seventy people have been infected in a measles outbreak that led California public health officials to urge those who haven't been vaccinated against the disease, including children too young to be immunized, should avoid Disney parks where the spread originated. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (WISH) – Health officials are encouraging families with children who haven’t been vaccinated against the measles to stay away from Disneyland until a measles outbreak can be contained.

Health officials say 70 people from 7 months to 70 years old contracted the virus at Disneyland.

Doctors say even since the link between vaccines and autism was discredited, parents continue to opt out of vaccinating their children. Now, those parents are drawing criticism.

Health authorities say the majority of the children who contracted measles at Disneyland did not have the measles, mumps, rubella or MMR vaccine. Now, they’re trying to contain the breakout that spans six states and Mexico.

Doctors say this news will hopefully encourage parents to educate themselves about immunizations.

“The good thing about this is that it reminds people that these illnesses still do exist and that it will open up discussions. I think that a lot of times the decision not to immunize is not based on facts but on feeling. ‘I don’t feel like I want to get my child immunized.’ So that any discussion involving the facts has got to be helpful,” said Dr. Dennis Woo, UCLA pediatrician

Health officials say this breakout at Disneyland in particular was sparked by an infected visitor from abroad last month.

Measles has been all but eradicated in the U.S. for the past 15 years because of the MMR vaccine. Doctors say the virus resurfaced in recent years because of the “opt out” movement.

All states do require children to be vaccinated, but many states have exceptions. In Indiana, parents can opt out of vaccines for religious reasons or for medical reasons. For religious reasons, parents simply send a signed note to the school. For medical reasons, a physician signs off stating that the vaccine would be detrimental to the child’s health.

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