Excerpts of emails between Disneyland and health officials

AP News
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Posted: Feb 12, 2015 6:54 PM

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — After the measles outbreak became public, Disneyland officials emailed California public health experts asking them to emphasize that such an outbreak could happen anywhere and it was safe to visit the theme park, according to correspondence obtained through a public records request.

Here are some excerpts from the email exchanges, which highlight some of the communications between the company and health officials during the early days of the outbreak:

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Excerpt from email from Disneyland's Cathi Killian to California Department of Public Health's Ron Owens on Jan. 15 titled "Information for the Website":

"Per our conversation, below are some thoughts. Basically, our goal is to ensure people know that the exposure period at the Disneyland Resort is now over, that this has nothing to do with Disneyland and this could happen anywhere.

"The possible measles exposure period of Dec. 15-20 at the Disneyland Resort is over and no new cases have been identified from guests who visited after that time period. This type of outbreak could happen anywhere — in an airport or a shopping mall. Measles is a highly contagious airborne disease and nothing could have been done to prevent it. The most effective way to prevent its spread is through immunization. There is absolutely nothing anyone can do other than to get vaccinated.

"Here is the quote from the OC Health Care Agency that was in the OC Register that summarized the points effectively:

"'There is nothing anyone can do to prevent such an outbreak from occurring. Anywhere you have people who are infectious, and others who are not vaccinated, you are going to have the disease spread. There is absolutely nothing anyone can do other than to get vaccinated.'

"Can you please let us know if you are able to help us on this front?

"Thanks for your help."

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Excerpts from email chain between Cathi Killian and Disneyland's Dr. Pamela Hymel that was relayed to Dr. Gil Chavez of California Department of Public Health on Jan. 22 titled "A Couple Thoughts":

"As I mentioned yesterday, measles is highly contagious and highly preventable through vaccinations. My cautions relate to those who are not vaccinated, especially infants under 12 months. Any place where large numbers of people congregate and there are a number of international visitors, like airports, shopping malls and tourist attractions, you may be more likely to find measles, which should be considered if you are not vaccinated. It is absolutely safe to visit these places, including the Disneyland Resort, if you are vaccinated. Therefore, I recommended getting immunized."

Hymel to Chavez:

"Hi there

"Here are some points, we will call to discuss"

Chavez to Hymel:

"Received. Your statement below is 100 percent consistent with what we conveyed yesterday. Let me work with our media folks on the best way to share it. We will use in our responses today."

Hymel to Chavez:

"Thank you again for all of your help"

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Excerpts from email from Cathi Killian to Dr. Gil Chavez that was relayed to officials at the California Health and Human Services Agency and California Department of Public Health on Jan. 22 titled "Call from Disney":

"Dr. Chavez,

"Please let me know (sic) are soon as you are available to talk - we are getting calls from the nightly news shows now and would like to be able to get some clarification in to the stories."

Chavez to state health officials:

"See note from Disney below for context on what I am calling about. I would like to post the below statement in our CDPH website ASAP to make sure that our recommendation as it pertains to visiting Disneyland is clear:

"Measles is highly contagious and highly preventable through vaccinations. CDPH is urging caution to individuals who are not vaccinated, especially infants under 12 months. Any place where large numbers of people congregate and there are a number of international visitors, like airports, shopping malls and tourist attractions, you may be more likely to find measles, which should be considered if you are not vaccinated. It is absolutely safe to visit these places, including the Disneyland Resort, if you are vaccinated. Therefore, CDPH recommends that anyone not already immunized against measles gets immunized at this time.

"Call when you can."