Medicine

Ten countries responsible for three-quarters of measles cases previous year

Ten countries responsible for three-quarters of measles cases previous year

That law was passed because large clusters of "anti-vaxx" parents were refusing to vaccinate their children - allowing outbreaks of measles and whooping cough to re-emerge in that state. Experts say many of these outbreaks are being fueled by low vaccination rates among children. Alarmed by recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in areas where anti-vaccination sentiment is strong, some states (California included) have rushed to pass legislation barring personal belief exemptions.

The risk of measles and its complications is highest for unvaccinated young children, World Health Organization says.

Once considered eradicated in the US, measles has sickened at least 159 people since the start of 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in outbreaks ranging from Washington and OR to Texas and NY.

Last year, 98 countries reported an uptick of measles cases, UNICEF said Thursday, while pinning the "alarming" resurgence of the disease on poor infrastructure and conflict in some cases, and "complacency" and an anti-vaccine movement in others.

The move among state legislatures to tighten vaccine requirements is good news to Diane Peterson, the associate director for immunization projects with the pro-vaccine advocacy group Immunization Action Coalition.

"It says in the Torah "V'nishmartem Meod L'nafshoseichem", that a person must guard their health", said Rabbi David Niederman, President of the UJO of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn.

The measles outbreak, which began in October, 2018, has now hit 121 victims, 108 of whom were children under 18.

"This virus is highly contagious", Grosso said.

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It can be contracted by someone within two hours after an infected person has left a room.

According to WNYC, the vast majority of Orthodox children in New York City have been vaccinated, and about 1,800 Orthodox children are out of school for not having been vaccinated.

Other countries with huge jumps a year ago compared to 2017 are Venezuela (4,916 more cases, up 676 percent), Serbia (4,355 more cases, up 620 percent), Madagascar (4,307 more cases, up 5,127 percent), Sudan (3,496 more cases, up 526 percent) and Thailand (2,758 more cases, up 136 percent).

According to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, bills to restrict exemptions are now pending in a growing number of states. The root cause of this - you guessed it - is misformation and myths about vaccines. A suggestion that immunization might be tied to severe consequences like autism was debunked years ago, after findings supporting that link were proved fraudulent.

Clark County Public Health, 360-397-8021.

In December, the Department announced mandatory exclusions for students in selected zip codes in Borough Park and Williamsburg that have not received the required number of doses of MMR vaccine.

And as more children go unvaccinated, measles has an opportunity to make a comeback, Grosso said.