Measles outbreak causes health hysteria

Maricruz Casares
Abril 13, 2019

New York City on Tuesday declared a public health emergency in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn because of a measles outbreak and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations.

"I'm not sure we need to do what New York City is doing, but I'm happy they are doing it", said Dr. Puthenmadam Radhakrishnan, a pediatrician with a practice in Ewing. He said the city would issue violations and possibly fines of $1,000 to those who did not comply. Unvaccinated individuals living in four ZIP codes who may have been exposed to measles will be required to receive the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine in order.

Several Orthodox mothers questioned this week lashed out at the anti-vaccine parents.

Q: Is the vaccine safe? Westchester's health commissioner says two had to be hospitalized. The Westchester County Department of Health is working with the families and health care providers to identify locations where the children may have exposed others.

"The situation in NYC is unfortunately a lot worse", Elnahal added.

It's a nightmare for public health officials, but it's good for Merck & Co., Inc. While vaccination rates in certain schools and for preschoolers may be lower, vaccination is the clear societal norm in Orthodox Jewish communities. Failure to vaccinate children results in a deterioration of this herd immunity, resulting in outbreaks of preventable diseases such as the one in Rockland.

Begun said he believes the city's vaccination order will be effective. Protection against an infectious disease will occur only if at least 93 percent of a child's community is vaccinated.

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The most recent tally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 465 cases across the U.S.so far this year, two-thirds of them in NY state.

With the current measles outbreaks in NY and New Jersey, I want to stress the importance of all eligible patients receiving the measles vaccine, which is 97 percent effective.

"We're facing a crisis that should have been dealt with in the 19th Century".

The mayor said an estimated 1,800 children in the neighborhood are still unvaccinated, so it was "time to take a more muscular approach", he said.

"I think it's a great idea", said Ruppert, the health commissioner. For example, an outbreak in Washington state is linked to a community where only about 80% of children were properly vaccinated. But that still leaves more than 13,500 students unprotected, the vast majority of whom opted out when their parents claimed vaccines conflicted with their religious beliefs.

"As a society we've said we'll allow a little bit of flexibility in our laws in order to give people a wider berth to exercise their personal beliefs", Indiana University public health law professor Ross D. Silverman recently told Wired magazine. A report from the New York Times notes that vaccines prevent two to three million deaths globally each year. She said people should call ahead and make arrangements. The result is that 95.6 percent of Utah children from kindergarten to 12th grade are adequately immunized against measles, according to a 2018 report from the Utah Department of Health. To suggest otherwise - especially to parents who may have seen adverse effects in another child - is like saying "they should set their kid on fire to protect someone else's child", she said. Such legal strides must be taken on the state and national level if this concerning epidemic of vaccine hesitancy is to end.

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