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Measles outbreak tied to Disneyland grows to 70 illnesses

Published:Friday | January 23, 2015 | 1:00 AM
Sleeping Beauty's Castle in winter dress with the iconic 'Partners' statue featuring images of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in the foreground, at Disneyland in Anaheim, California

LOS ANGELES (AP):
A measles outbreak traced to Disney theme parks in California led to warnings against visiting the happiest place on Earth if tourists or their children have not been vaccinated against the highly contagious respiratory disease that has sickened 70 people.

New infections linked to the theme parks emerged Wednesday in the outbreak that has spread to five U.S. states and Mexico, though the vast majority occurred in California.

People who have not received the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine are susceptible to contracting the highly contagious illness and should avoid Disney "for the time being," state epidemiologist Gil Chavez said.

The same holds true for crowded places with a high concentration of international travelers, such as airports, Chavez said. People who are vaccinated don't need to take such precautions, he said.

Disneyland Resorts spokeswoman Suzi Brown said officials agreed with the advice that "it's absolutely safe to visit if you're vaccinated."

The people who have been infected range in age from seven months to 70 years old. The vast majority had not been vaccinated, and a quarter had to be hospitalized.

Among those sickened were five Disney employees, three of whom have since returned to work. The company previously said park employees who may have been in contact with infected people were asked to show proof of vaccination or have a blood test to show immunity against measles. Those with pending results were put on paid leave. Vaccinations are also being offered to all employees.