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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Measles and Underimmunized, Close-knit Communities

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

Manisha Patel and colleagues have an article at MMWR titled "National Update on Measles Cases and Outbreaks — United States, January 1–October 1, 2019."
During January–September 2019, 1,249 U.S. measles cases were reported, the highest annual number since 1992. Eighty-nine percent of measles patients were unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status, and 10% were hospitalized. Eighty-six percent of cases were associated with outbreaks in underimmunized, close-knit communities, including two outbreaks in New York Orthodox Jewish communities that threatened measles elimination status in the United States.

From HHS:
The United States has maintained its measles elimination status of nearly 20 years. The New York State Department of Health yesterday declared the end of the state’s nearly year-long outbreak that had put the U.S. at risk of losing its measles elimination status.
“We are very pleased that the measles outbreak has ended in New York and that measles is still considered eliminated in the United States. This result is a credit to the cooperative work by local and state health departments, community and religious leaders, other partners, and the CDC,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “But this past year’s outbreak was an alarming reminder about the dangers of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation."
Perhaps the worst source of such misinformation is Azar's boss, Donald J. Trump, who has never retracted his comments that vaccines cause autism.