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Friday, March 8, 2019

Measles Update

In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autismTwitterFacebook, and other social media platforms have helped spread this dangerous myth.

Trends in Measles Cases, 2010-2019

Tyler Pager at NYT
Public officials and health experts had given several warnings: Do not allow a student in school if they had not been vaccinated against measles.

Still, during New York City’s largest measles outbreak in a decade, a school in Brooklyn ignored that advice, resulting in one student infecting at least 21 other people with the virus.
The outbreak, at Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov in Williamsburg, is reigniting concerns that too many people in New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities are unvaccinated, as well as worries that measles would continue to spread after travelers arrived last fall from parts of Israel and Europe, where the virus was spreading.
City officials said they have struggled to increase vaccination rates in certain communities because of popularity of the widely debunked anti-vaccination movement, with parents declining vaccines for their children in fear that they increase the risk of autism.
Michael Gerson at WP:
Politics does make a huge difference to public health in one way. When politicians give legitimacy to dangerous and disproven scientific theories — as both Paul and President Trump have done on vaccinations — they are encouraging a lower level of coverage, which makes a higher level of compulsion necessary. So it is the vaccination skeptics who are making intrusive public health methods more likely. That just makes sense, when you just think about it for a second.