Legislators have to resort to more drastic measures to ensure people aren’t taking risks when it comes to vaccines, as the measles outbreak continues to spread across the country
Roughly 465 confirmed cases have been reported in 19 states so far this year alone. Apparently the outbreak was so bad in some states that Washington state Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency. Recently an outbreak in Brooklyn, New York, attributed to religious communities caught the attention of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Since October, the city has exploded with 285 cases of measles most of which have been found in the Orthodox Jewish community who live in Brooklyn. Almost more than 280 cases of measles have been found in religious families in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
In Williamsburg, last week there were almost 26 new cases of measles discovered which is significantly higher than the two cases of measles reported in 2017 and 2018.
Many of the cases were found in children who have been hospitalized because of measles. Doctors have found many of the patients have not been vaccinated or their vaccines have not been completed.
The outbreak comes after health officials discovered families were throwing “measles parties” to expose their children to the disease. These “chicken pox parties” are a common way for parents to “naturally” attempt to building immunity in kids before the varicella vaccine was widely distributed in 1995.
If one child was sick with the virus, other parents would bring over their children to be exposed to the sickness. However even with chicken pox this practice brought complications, including bacterial infections, pneumonia, and inflammation of the brain.
“What we are hearing from the community is that people are having these gatherings and allowing their children to be exposed to the measles,” NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
A nurse’s group who has been tracking some of the gatherings said parents were using social media and conference calls to organize the parties and “share sippy cups.
“There are parents actively seeking out infected children to infect their own children,” Melody Butler said, executive director of Nurses Who Vaccinate and a registered nurse herself. “That can have devastating results.”
The mayor of New York City declared a public health emergency on Tuesday and will fine families who don’t vaccinate their kids. While the outbreak continues to spread to other counties in New York, the mayor has ordered that people who are unvaccinated have 48 hours to get their shots or they will be fined “$1,000 per instance.
Barbot explained, “For instance, if a parent has three children and one of them gets the measles, exposing the other two, the fine would be $3,000.”
The strong stance is to help the city reduce the outbreak. “The public health order requires everyone living in the zip codes of 11205, 11206, 11211, and 11249 to get vaccinated within the next 48 hours,” Barbot continued.
Vaccinations are required particularly for people who have been exposed to the virus or to elderly people and children 6 months. “This is about one neighborhood and tracing folks that have been exposed,” de Blasio explained. “You literally need to track down every single person that person came in contact with.”
“Measles is a dangerous, potentially deadly disease that can easily be prevented with vaccine,” Dr. Herminia Palacio, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services explained.
When people choose not to get their children vaccinated, other people such as pregnant women, people on chemotherapy, and the elderly – at risk of contracting measles. The City has worked hard to end this outbreak.
Take a look at the video below for more details on this topic.