Measles outbreak in U.S. raises concerns over unvaccinated population

Desiree Burns
April 13, 2019

The city's health department is doubling down on its earlier order that yeshivas and daycare programs in Williamsburg be sanctioned if they failed to exclude unvaccinated students.

"The Westchester County Department of Health is working with the families and health care providers to identify the locations where the children may have exposed others", Latimer said. At the time, my medical colleagues and I hailed the end of this risky virus that infected more than 4 million people per year, hospitalized 50,000, and killed 500, before the measles vaccine program began in 1963.

New York City health officials have made vaccinations mandatory in its hardest hit communities, threatening fines up to $1,000 for noncompliance, The Associated Press reports.

In the face of this crisis, schools in Washington and NY are keeping unvaccinated children out of classes, and Rockland County executive Ed May declared that they should be barred from all public places in the county.

Yet here we are in 2019, with measles outbreaks occurring in six states, a measles state of emergency declared in Rockland County, and the World Health Organization announcing that the virus is once again a global threat. Two additional cases were confirmed in Sullivan County. In America, we also support the idea of individualism, and many consider vaccinations a personal choice. The drugmaker is the exclusive manufacturer of the MMR II - measles, mumps, rubella - vaccine, which is generally distributed in two doses.

Pneumonia related to measles is the most common cause of deaths attributed to measles. Almost 83 000 people contracted measles in Europe in 2018, the highest number in a decade.

As anti-vaccination movements continue to rise, Coffey explained that the widespread opposition to vaccination is mainly based in false news about side effects.

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"When individuals are not vaccinated, there is a high likelihood of catching the disease", Sheffield said. And, if that's not enough of a reason to be vaccinated, she said, the public cost of tracking cases and quarantining their contacts with exposure to the disease can be extraordinary.

The year is already shaping up to be one of the worst for measles outbreaks across the nation. "When [eight] cases become significantly more than that, then we will use the authority of government".

At a time when Rockland County is attempting to get a grip on the measles epidemic and efforts to convince unvaccinated residents to get the MMR shots, new cases of the virus have been confirmed in adjacent counties. "Even the hospital didn't know what it was at first, but now they figured it out".

Anyone who would like to receive a vaccine at one of these clinics should register in advance for an appointment at

"It lasts in the air for hours after that person leaves the room", Amler said.

"Vaccines are safe and effective - and they work."
He said the city would issue violations and possibly fines of $1,000 to those who did not comply. "I think it will help in getting the community covered", he said.

Some in the Orthodox Jewish community oppose vaccines, saying it is a part of their religious belief or they refer to fears that vaccines will cause autism.

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