Measles outbreak: Court denies anti-vaxxer's second attempt to fight vaccine mandate

A child receives a measles vaccination

A child receives a measles vaccination Credit Sascha Steinbach Rex

Almost 700 cases have been reported across 22 states amid a resurgence of the highly infectious disease, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. In 1912, according to the CDC, "measles became a nationally notifiable disease in the United States, requiring US healthcare providers and laboratories to report all diagnosed cases".

While the current outbreaks are localized, they are a good reminder that the disease hasn't been completely eradicated, Chatham Health Agent Judith Giorgio said. Most of these are common symptoms with people who have colds and certain types of flu, which comes with its own unsafe and surprising complications.

But with New York City experiencing a more severe outbreak, with at least 420 cases, and another 200-plus diagnosed in nearby Rockland County, the threat of cross-border contamination is significant, Elnahal said. The question of whether measles will touch every state is no longer a question of if, but when. However, some adults wonder if they should get a booster shot since cases of the virus are on the rise. CDC noted that this year's outbreak was sparked by more than 100 infections acquired by travelers overseas since early 2018, majority occurring in Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines.

While it's unlikely New Jersey would ever see hundreds or thousands of cases at once, the state could see localized epidemics with "pockets of people with low vaccination rates getting many infections", Dr. David Cennimo, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said via text message.

This has occurred even in adults with two documented doses of the vaccine, said Dr. Michael Phillips, chief epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health, which serves parts of New York City, a hot spot in the USA outbreak.

Last week in California, more than 1 000 students and staff at two Los Angeles universities were quarantined on campus or sent home after cases began to appear.

Anna Bass, the health department's tuberculosis and communicable disease nurse coordinator, said the virus can remain in the room up to two hours after an infected person occupied it.

People whom public health authorities determine are at increased risk for contracting measles or at high risk for complications during a measles outbreak, such as pregnant women or those with a compromised immune system. Those people are infection risks, and short-term limitations of where they can go and who they can meet are legally and medically appropriate, Gostin said.

To mark National Infant Immunization Week, he urged everyone to make sure they and their loved ones are up-to-date with the CDC's recommended vaccine schedule, which provides guidelines for people of all ages and with specific health conditions. If the 5 percent of unvaccinated children were spread across the state there would be nearly no risk, she added.

What if I don't know whether I've been vaccinated?

Those born before 1957 are likely to have been infected naturally and are presumed to protected against those viruses. In particular, the disease is spreading in Orthodox Jewish communities.

Another Aucklander has contracted measles, bringing the total number of cases in the region to 34. He added, "It's not so easy to discern what is real and what is not", explaining the connections made on social media by antivaxxers between measles vaccine and autism. Individuals should receive two doses of MMR vaccine to be protected.

Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.

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