If we’ve been in the same city the last 6 months or so, you’ve almost definitely heard my schpiel on measles, the deadly viral infection that kills 300,000 children under five each year…and the only vaccine-preventable disease with rates of infection increasing in the rich world. Thanks to a lobby of badly misguided parents (and Jenny McCarthy) who storm Oprah and the federal government trumpeting the baseless and roundly debunked theory that vaccination causes autism, a disease that is not even endemic to North America now enjoys annual outbreaks in our largest urban centers. In San Diego, where several significant outbreaks have already occured, excemption rates for MMR top ten percent, well above what is considered safe by the CDC. Of course, when you believe your pediatrician, the CDC and the FDA are part of a massive conspiracy to damage children, you probably don’t care what they say.
Anyway, if you needed more proof that a drop in vaccination rates was a recipie for disaster, look no further than south Brooklyn. Among the most statistically significant outbreaks last year occured in Borough Park, where 29 people–nearly all of them children in the ultra-Orthodox community, were sickened. It was the largest single outbreak in New York City since 1992. The terrifying thing is, most of the victims were babies between 12 and 15 months–the period when the CDC recommends children have their first innoculations–whose parents fully intended to have them vaccinated by 15 months. Because birth rates are so high in the community, most just hadn’t had time.
Now, the measles is back in Brooklyn, with 11 confirmed cases. Think it’s gonna stop at that? Think again.
Next time you read tripe like this in the Huffington Post, think who’s really being hurt.