The measles outbreak in California Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom this past December has rehashed the heated debate about childhood vaccinations. Many families choose not to vaccinate their children or delay vaccinations because of religious and philosophical beliefs. The 102 people affected by this outbreak were mostly non vaccinated children.
This single outbreak has caused a panic in the travel industry. Many resorts, cruises, and theme parks take on extra precautions to protect their guest from viruses. Hand sanitizers, disinfecting frequently, and promoting healthy hand washing are tactics to prevent wide spread viruses. However, when you introduce a disease such as measles there isn’t much you can do to protect a non-vaccinated child. You can catch measles just by being in the same room with a person infected.
The CDC states that the measles is a very contagious respiratory disease that can be spread by coughing or sneezing. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, red eyes, sore throat, and a body rash.
If you or your family are traveling this year then you need to protect your family. The measles is still common in other parts of the world. There are an estimated 20 million measles cases reported around the world every year.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your family from the measles:
1. Make sure your family all have up to date Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccinations. If you’re unsure, it doesn’t hurt to get an extra dose.
2. Consult your family doctor and pediatrician before your next family trip. Your doctor has access to the most recent outbreak cases around the world including the U.S.
3. If your child is not vaccinated, keep them a safe distance away from relatives or friends that are just returning from abroad. Measles is common in parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.
4. Consider avoiding large crowds such as amusement parks this summer. Family camping is a great way to have fun without exposing your child to the measles virus.
5. If you plan to send your child to summer camp this year find out the camp’s policy regarding vaccinations. This will allow you to make an informed decision.
6. Stay informed. Review the CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) for detailed information about the measle outbreaks. Also check out World Health Organization for specific information about health alerts in the country you are planning to visit.
Additional resources to protect your child from Measles: