By Art Caplan
Measles are breaking out all over Britain. Getting fewer headlines is the fact that measles are back in the USA too. In fact they are in our region. A mini-epidemic is raging in Brooklyn. Measles for cripes sake! The disease that many of us over 60 had as kids that should never occur is back with a vengeance. The reason for the diseases reappearance is simple—failure to vaccinate. Maybe it is time to get tough on those whose choices put others at risk.
For decades, there has been a safe, effective vaccine that works exceedingly well against the measles–95% full protection for a kid who has been vaccinated– and nearly equally well at preventing transmission to others. The more people have been vaccinated the tougher it is for measles to gain a foothold.
NY City health officials have reported 30 cases so far–26 in Borough Park and four more in Williamsburg. The NY Daily News reports that the consequences of this outbreak have been dire:
“There have been two hospitalizations, a miscarriage and a case of pneumonia as a result of this outbreak,” a Health Department spokeswoman said. “All cases involved adults or children who were not vaccinated due to refusal or delays in vaccination.”
So far the outbreak has been among religious Jews some of whom shun getting the vaccine for their kids out of fear it causes autism Dr. Yu Shia Lin of Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park told The News.