Health officials in the United States confirmed 71 new measles cases a week ago. Only 40 or so cases are now needed to make 2019 the worst year for measles since health officials declared the disease eradicated in 2000.
The Centers for Disease Control confirmed the 71 measles cases for the week ending last Friday. The total for the year is now 626. The worst year since the announcement made in 2000 was 2010 when 667 cases were confirmed by the CDC.
There are confirmed cases of measles in 22 states this year. Sixty-eight of the 71 new cases confirmed last week took place in the state of New York. Fifty-three of the new cases were in New York City and the other 15 patients were found in Rockland County. Public emergencies have been declared in both areas and calls for vaccinations have been made.
The city of New York mandated on April 9 that residents who reside in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods be vaccinated or face a fine of $1,000. A Jewish school in the area was also closed down when it allowed students to attend classes who were not vaccinated.
Large populations of Orthodox Jewish people live in both New York City and Rockland County. There seems to be a good bit of reluctance to accept vaccinations in these communities. A group of nurses in these communities is working to combat the misinformation they feel are fueling the reluctance to vaccinate in the Orthodox Jewish community.
The CDC explains individuals who receive both doses of the measles vaccine are 97 percent less likely to be infected by the disease. Conversely, measles is known to be highly contagious and infects ninety percent of unvaccinated individuals who come in contact with the disease.
Health officials in New York are preparing to deal with more measles cases after the Jewish Passover ends this weekend.
The Food and Drug Administration released a statement Monday intended to convince the public the measles vaccine is safe. Peter Marks of the FDA says all the evidence points to the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.