Measles at Disneyland, December 15-20, 2014: No Longer a Risk!

lightningWe had 628 cases of measles in the USA during 2014 and the 5 years prior we had 55 to 220 a year. (you can read those figures here… )

US population:  Over 300 million

Chance of getting measles in 2014: 1 in 478,000

Chance of dying from measles (death rate of less than 1 in 2000)- 1 in a billion (about 0.05% of those who get measles die from it).

Chance of being hit by lightning in USA:  1 in 500,000 (same as chance of getting measles)

Chance of dying from the lightning strike: 1 in 5 million (about 10% of those hit by lightning die). You  can read more about lightning here…

You are much more likely to die from lightning in the USA than from measles.  Do you spend time worrying about being struck by lightning?  I hope not.  Likewise you should not be worried about dying from measles.  Driving to the grocery store or anywhere else is far more dangerous and I suggest we stop living in fear and get on with living.

My point is this. Just because a handful of cases (9 to be exact) of measles were traced back to Disneyland during the December  15th to December 20th time period, it doesn’t mean that there is any added risk of being at Disneyland or any other crowded place. There is no added risk beyond the usual very low risk.  If you happened to be at Disneyland during those dates, then you are not totally out of the woods as far as getting measles until 21 days after December 20th. The incubation period is up to 21 days. So if you are reading this you are no longer at risk!

There are about 70,000 people a day over the Christmas holidays at Disneyland (read more here… ). So over the 5 days that measles was at Disneyland 350,000 people were potentially exposed. This resulted in 9 cases, or about a 1 in 40,000 chance that you got measles while at Disneyland during this supposed high risk time.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Don’t play in water or open spaces during a lightning storm and obviously don’t hang out with someone that you know has measles. Otherwise, you really don’t need to worry about lightning or measles.


Dr. Paul

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