Edmonton

Measles outbreak at Disneyland cancels family trip

An Edmonton family has cancelled their February trip to Disneyland after a measles outbreak at the “happiest place on earth” in California.
Measles cases have been popping up around California in an outbreak linked to visits to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure theme parks during the winter 2014 holiday. (Associated Press)

An Edmonton family has cancelled their February trip to Disneyland after an outbreak of measles at the “happiest place on earth” in California.

“To us it’s not worth it,” said Tina Bitangcol.

Bitangcol, her husband and her two children, one who is too young to be vaccinated, cancelled their trip after watching the number of cases of measles climb. Members of their extended family were supposed to travel to Disneyland as well, a trip booked in early December.

“When the numbers started to go up into the 30s, then the 50s we started to say it’s probably not worth it, and then they hit 70 and we cancelled for sure,” said Bitangcol​.

At least 70 people in six states and Mexico have fallen ill since mid-December, most of them from California. The vast majority of those who got sick had not received the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine.

Health authorities believe the outbreak was triggered by a measles-stricken visitor to one of the Disney parks who brought the virus from abroad last month.

As one of the world's biggest tourist destinations, Disney was a perfect spot for the virus to spread, with large numbers of babies too young to be vaccinated and lots of visitors from countries that do not require measles shots.

The disease has since spread beyond Disneyland.

The infected ranged from 7 months to 70 years old, including five Disneyland workers.

“People need to really start making more informed choices,” said Bitangcol who works as nurse in an emergency room.

“I think it’s really important from a public health standpoint to make, really make, educated decisions regarding your health and the health of other children.”

Bitangcol said if both her children were vaccinated, the trip would have gone ahead as planned.

To control this latest outbreak, those not vaccinated have been warned to stay away from Disney theme parks. Disney employees who have no proof of immunization and may have come into contact with sick colleagues were placed on paid leave until they are given the medical all-clear.

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