Local NYC news outlets are abuzz with the news that there has been an outbreak of measles among ultra-orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn this year. It s thought that a family visiting from London that had not been vaccinated against the disease initiated the current outbreak. The infants and toddlers who acquired the disease in Brooklyn came from families that refused vaccination.
Rabbi Moshe Tendler, a professor of biology and Jewish medical ethics at Yeshiva was quoted It has nothing to do with religion. Most likely there s a failure in their understanding of exactly what modern medicine is, largely due to the fact that so many of the families have not had a secular education.
Measles, a highly contagious viral disease, can be prevented by a safe, very effective vaccine (about 99 percent protective) for those 12 months of age and older. The city Health Department warns that at least 22 cases have been reported this year within these communities.
Although many consider a case of measles to be a relatively harmless rite of passage, in fact it can be deadly. According to the Department of Health, measles can also result in a number of complications that might include ear infections, pneumonia, seizures, miscarriages and birth defects.
ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan urges All parents should have their children vaccinated on or shortly after their first birthday. There is no good reason to leave children vulnerable to this potentially damaging disease.