Health Care

Measles outbreak causes health hysteria

Measles mumps and rubella vaccines are seen in a cooler at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona New York earlier this year

America's largest urban area, New York City, has taken the extraordinary move of making vaccinations mandatory for some people who may have been exposed to the measles virus in a hard-hit, predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a public health emergency in Williamsburg after the area logged 300 measles cases in the past months.

In New York, an worldwide traveler arrived in Rockland County with a suspected case of the measles. The cause is not being helped by anti-vaxxers, with around 1,800 children believed to be unvaccinated.

A CDC report states that the US had a notifiable measles outbreak in 1912, resulting in around 6,000 deaths every year, until scientists developed the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in 1963. Additionally, the CDC explains that sometimes people are unable to receive the MMR vaccine and become susceptible to infection during outbreaks among unvaccinated communities. Since it has affected children too, this is now a serious concern.

Latimer said it would be under Amler's authority to declare any county-wide measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Vaccines will work if given within three days of exposure, and immunoglobulin can work within six days of exposure.

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Junior biology major Caleb Gruber said, for him, appreciating the ability to practice advanced medicine and create vaccines is an expression of faith.

Avi, 17, a resident of Kensington, Brooklyn, said he and hasn't seen any cases of measles. "If we're not getting vaccinated, we're putting other people at risk". "Our religion says that you should do it", he said across the street from the Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov school.

"As the outbreak continues to grow and even spread to other counties in NY, 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".

However some locals, like Miriam, 66, are anxious about how the outbreak may affect their family members. He said the city would issue violations and possibly fines of $1,000 to those who did not comply. She said people should call ahead and make arrangements. People can spread measles before they even know they are sick. Miriam's daughter doesn't want to vaccinate her children, she said, because she is anxious about the vaccines affecting brain function. "We can't just be concerned about my religious beliefs, your religious beliefs", she said, as she walked out of a kosher supermarket in Monsey, the epicenter of the county's Orthodox community.

"When individuals are not vaccinated, there is a high likelihood of catching the disease", Sheffield said. In fact, according to Keith Holyoak, a UCLA Distinguished Professor of Psychology, it may be "more effective to accentuate the positive reasons to vaccinate and take a non-confrontational approach... than directly trying to counter the negative arguments against vaccines".