The number of measles cases in the US is now at the second-highest level since measles was eliminated in the country in 2000, according to a report released Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of the cases are children under 18 and have been reported from Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn. The total so far is the second-greatest number of cases reported since 2000. Just last week New York City, which has seen 285 measles cases this year, declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory vaccinations in one Brooklyn neighborhood for people who may have been exposed to the virus.
A state judge overturned the order, but Rockland is appealing that decision.
"When you make the decision not to vaccinate your child, please understand you're also making that decision for the people around your child", New York City's Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services, Herminia Palacio, told NPR on Wednesday. It says the school will not be allowed to reopen until it submits a "corrective action plan" approved by the department.
But rich countries with seemingly high vaccination rates are seeing cases spike too.
"Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people", the World Health Organization statement said.
The mistaken belief can be traced back to 1998, when a doctor in the United Kingdom published a now discredited study claiming the MMR vaccine was linked to autism.
Before the first measles vaccine became available in 1963, the disease killed hundreds of people and hospitalized 48,000 each year, according to the CDC.
Claims about health risks from vaccines are "based purely on fabrication", he continued.
Almost a quarter of measles patients are hospitalised with complications that can lead to disabilities, brain damage, blindness and hearing loss.
"Measles is not a trivial disease", Fauci warned. "Prior to the 1960's when the vaccine was introduced there were a couple million cases of measles and 400 to 500 deaths a year, thousands and thousands of hospitalizations and a thousand cases of encephalitis [inflammation of the brain]".
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