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A small measles outbreak at California's Disneyland.

The US health authorities have informed of an isolated outbreak of measles in the west of the country.

After visiting the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, 42 tourists didn’t just come back with Mickey Mouse souvenirs, but measles too. Previously it was thought that measles had disappeared from American territory in the year 2000.

Even though the measles vaccine is compulsory in the USA, many parents choose not to vaccinate their children for personal reasons, perhaps linked to a study suggesting a link between the vaccination and autism.

According to a study published by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), a total of 70 patients have been diagnosed with the illness, across 6 states other than California: Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nebraska and Arizona, the latest case being found in Disneyland Resort Anaheim.

Measles is highly contagious and is transmitted via the air, even two hours after the contaminated person has left the area. This is why the CDPH insists that the best way to avoid measles is to get vaccinated.

The MMR jab (measles, mumps and rubella) is not compulsory in the UK, but is advised in children. So, if you are applying for an immigration visa to visit the USA, you should make sure this vaccination is up to date.  Nevertheless, if you are planning on heading to the USA as part of the Visa Waiver Programme with ESTA authorisation or a temporary visa, the MMR vaccine is not required.

If you or your baby (younger than 1 year old) are not vaccinated, the US health authorities recommend avoiding busy places such as airports, shopping centres and tourist spots… which clearly seems rather difficult when taking a tourist trip to the USA. So get vaccinated!

However, if your vaccine is up to date you have nothing to worry about, and can leisurely enjoy your trip to the USA, including a trip to Disneyland! 

Travelling to the United States? Do you have your pre-planning checklist in order? Visit our ESTA Guide for more information about obtaining your travel permit. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your comments or questions for travel assistance.