It’s not the sort of souvenir you’d expect to bring home from the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but that’s exactly what dozens of children took away from their visit to Disneyland last December.
Ironically, Jean and I were there with the boys the very week of the outbreak.
More than fifty children contracted the disease as a result of exposure to the infection at the California theme park. Some spread it to others, and by the end of January more than a hundred cases had been confirmed in the U.S.
In the grand scheme of things, one hundred cases may not seem like a lot, but before you dismiss the seriousness of it all, consider these two things:
- By the year 2000, this potentially deadly disease had been eliminated from the U.S. All cases since then have been brought in from outside the country, as happened in this instance.
- Measles is among the most contagious diseases in the world.
If you’ve read the news at all recently you’ve probably heard a lot of discussion about vaccination, vaccination requirements, and exemptions. Some parents are refusing to immunize their children because of concerns they’ve heard or read about unsafe vaccines. Others point out that families who opt out of vaccinations put everyone else at risk, including those who can’t get the vaccine (such as those who are too young or who have compromised immune systems).
The tone of the debate has gotten harsh at times, on both sides. One commentator has gone so far as to state that parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated should face penalties, even jail.
Politicians are weighing in on the debate, too, either urging parents to vaccinate their children or claiming that government should seek a “balanced” approach to vaccination mandates.
For the record, the Physicians Resource Council of Focus on the Family has considered the issue carefully and strongly favors the recommended schedule of childhood vaccination as safe and effective in protecting children’s health.
Nevertheless, for some, vaccines remain a controversy—one that’s not going away soon.
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you.