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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

1022 Measles Case: Time to Act

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing disease to spread.

From January 1 to June 6, 2019, 1,022 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 28 states. This is an increase of 41 cases from the previous week. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
Matthew Crane at The Sacramento Bee:
At a time when vaccination standards have been thrust into the spotlight by Senate Bill 276 and remain a point of national fixation, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent comments are deeper than political pandering to a target demographic. The remarks represent more than an everyday gaffe. They are outright irresponsible and emblematic of how policymakers and public health agents have responded to the anti-vaccination movement.
Recently, Newsom indicated concern with the role of government in SB 276. He contends that, though he believes in the importance of vaccinations, he holds reservations about inserting bureaucracy into the “very personal” decision whether to vaccinate one’s children.
The persistence of the anti-vaccination public health catastrophe can be squarely attributed to such ineffectual and poorly informed comments.
 Elizabeth Cohen, John Bonifield and Debra Goldschmidt at CNN:
Health authorities in New York say they've faced formidable challenges to quell the current outbreak: anti-vaxers who specifically targeted the state's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, bombarding them with lies that vaccines cause autism.
"We are now countering not only the vector of the measles virus, but we're countering the vector of the anti-vaxers, and that message - that insidious message -- is just as challenging as the most contagious virus on the face of the earth," said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
New York health authorities face an additional challenge: ultra-Orthodox Jews travel frequently to Israel and Europe, where there have been more than 100,000 measles cases this year.
When the Disneyland measles outbreak occurred in California in 2014, the state moved swiftly. Within a few months, lawmakers introduced and passed legislation getting rid of religious and philosophical exemptions for vaccines. Now, schoolchildren in California have to be vaccinated unless they have a medical excuse.
Similar bills have languished in the New York legislature since January.