The United States is currently experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of measles cases in several years. Currently, there are 21 states with confirmed measles cases. There are 555 cases spread through 20 of the states. However, the state of New York has seen the most number of measles cases by far. 329 cases of measles have been confirmed in Brooklyn, and over 220 cases are confirmed in the rest of the state of New York.
CNBC reports due to the high number of measles cases, the city of New York mandated that all children would be required to have a measles vaccination unless a child was proven to have a legitimate medical reason to be exempt from vaccination. Those who failed to have a child vaccinated would face fines from the city.
Parents who did not want to have their children vaccinated filed suit claiming that the city was overreaching its authority. Those protesting against mandatory vaccination stated that they believed that quarantining affected individuals would do just as much good as mandatory vaccination. Health officials countered by stating that the measles virus is transmissible before a person shows any sign of having the infection.
This week Judge Lawrence Knipel ruled that New York did have the right to order mandatory vaccination. The judge ruled that the situation was a health emergency that the city had the right to act upon.
Almost every case of measles that has occurred in New York has been in non-vaccinated individuals. Most cases have occurred in Orthodox Jewish areas where vaccination rates are low.
In other areas of the country, cases are also occurring almost entirely in non-vaccinated people. Many parents are not giving the vaccine to their children due to the unscientific belief that vaccines are the cause of autism in children.
In order for a person to be protected from measles, two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine must be given. If a person contracts measles, there can be serious health effects even if the person survives the initial infection.