Tag: Brooklyn

The Rockland County Measles Outbreak is Ending

Maybe they don’t want to jinx it or maybe no one else is paying attention, but folks should know that the Rockland County measles outbreak should be very quietly ending this week.

The last new measles case in Rockland County was on August 15.
The last new measles case in Rockland County was reported on August 15.

Wait, don’t you need to go 42 days (two incubation periods) without a new case to declare an outbreak over?

The Rockland measles outbreak will end on September 26, when 42 days have passed since the last new measles case.
The Rockland measles outbreak will end on September 25, when 42 days have passed since the last new measles case.

Yes.

But besides the 16 historical cases which were added on August 26, the last new case in Rockland County was reported on August 15.

Folks were first exposed to an unvaccinated traveler in the Rockland County measles outbreak on September 28, 2018. By mid-November, there were already 68 confirmed cases in the area.
Folks were first exposed to an unvaccinated traveler in the Rockland County measles outbreak on September 28, 2018. By mid-November, there were already 68 confirmed cases in the area.

That means that the Rockland Count outbreak, which started in September 2018, will end, if there are no new cases, on September 25, 2019.

The Rockland County Measles Outbreak is Ending

While it is exciting news that the outbreak is ending, it is even more welcome and exciting that the outbreak is ending this week!

“Outbreaks in New York City and Rockland County, New York have continued for nearly 8 months. If these outbreaks continue through summer and fall, the United States may lose its measles elimination status.”

U.S. measles cases in first five months of 2019 surpass total cases per year for past 25 years

If it had gone any longer, we would have been in danger of losing our status of having eliminated the endemic spread of measles.

Remember all of the talk about medical martial law in Rockland County?

And we would have had to continue to put up with anti-vax propaganda and misinformation that scares parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Almost all of the measles cases in Rockland County were children and almost all of them were unvaccinated.
Almost all of the measles cases in Rockland County were children and almost all of them were unvaccinated.

Instead, as the outbreak ends, we will hopefully learn some lessons, get more folks vaccinated and protected and move towards having record low numbers of measles cases once again.

Still, the Rockland County measles outbreak, with 312 cases, will end as the longest measles outbreak since the end of the endemic spread of measles in 2000.

With 654 cases, the Brooklyn outbreak, which lasted 11 months and cost over $6 million to contain, gets the record for being the largest measles outbreak in recent history.

More on the Rockland County Measles Outbreak

Are the Measles Outbreaks in New York a Hoax?

Wait, why do some folks think that the measles outbreaks in New York are a hoax?

There were no confirmed cases in the measles outbreaks in New York, except the 654 measles cases that were confirmed… Some hoax!
There were no confirmed cases in the measles outbreaks in New York, except the 654 measles cases that were confirmed… Some hoax!

Oh, the usual suspects

Are the Measles Outbreaks in New York a Hoax?

Brooklyn, New York had 654 measles cases in the largest measles outbreak in 27 years.

There have been 312 confirmed cases in the measles outbreaks in Rockland, County, New York.

There have been an additional 312 confirmed, reported cases in Rockland County, New York, the longest measles outbreak since the endemic spread of measles was declared eliminated in 2000.

Were they a hoax?

“A total of 654 cases were confirmed, with rash onsets between September 30, 2018 and July 15, 2019. Serious complications included hospitalization (52), intensive unit care (19) and pneumonia (34). Multiple international importations of measles introduced into a community with prevalent delays in vaccination among young children propagated this outbreak.”

2019 Health Alert #26: Update on Measles Outbreak in New York City

Of course not!

The New York State Department of Health advises that on all suspected measles cases, “Viral specimens (nasopharyngeal swaband urine) and serology (IgM and IgG) should be obtained for diagnostic testing and confirmation.”

Were these cases all caused by vaccine strain measles, as Larry Palevesky suggests?

Of course not!

A vaccine strain has never before caused a measles outbreak. And NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, in a press conference, stated that “Yeah, it’s, you can’t get the measles from the vaccine.”

Although anti-vax folks often focus on the measles strain when there is an outbreak, all it really helps you do is figure out where the imported cases came from.

Even though health officials didn’t tell us the specific strains involved in the outbreaks, guess what, they did tell us the sources of the outbreak, so it is basically the same thing.

The cases were imported from Israel, UK, and Ukraine.

And the CDC has told us that “All measles cases this year have been caused by measles wild-type D8 or B3.”

“We have to stop blaming, accusing, targeting, ostracizing, condemning unvaccinated children as a health risk, which would then make this subject completely moot.”

Larry Palevsky

What else do we know about the measles outbreak in Brooklyn?

  • it began in October 2018 “with an unvaccinated child from Brooklyn who acquired measles in Israel”
  • it included 15 neighborhoods in Brooklyn, with most concentrated in Williamsburg, Borough Park, and Sunset Park
  • the majority of cases were in children, including at least 91 cases in infants less than 12 months old
  • the great majority of cases were unvaccinated, with only 27 cases fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR
  • there were 52 hospitalizations, including 16 ICU admissions

And the outbreak cost over $6 million to control!

The Rockland County measles outbreak ended in late September and is also said to have cost over $6 million to control.

At a gathering for the New York Alliance for Vaccine Rights and First Freedoms Community, these folks, including Larry Palevsky (left) are discussing the "alleged" measles outbreaks that New York spent $6 million and 500 staff to contain.
At a gathering for the New York Alliance for Vaccine Rights and First Freedoms Community, these folks, including Larry Palevsky (left) are discussing the “alleged” measles outbreaks that New York spent $6 million and 500 staff to contain.

So why do they think they are a hoax?

“There were over 800 kids who the New York State and New York City Department of Health have said were confirmed cases of measles. The real question is, were these really confirmed as per the CDC recommendations. We do not have that data. In fact, anecdotally, New York State told the physicians not to do the tests.”

Larry Palevsky

Is this about the strains again? Is this about the fact that once you know you are in the middle of a huge measles outbreak, you might be able to start diagnosing kids clinically?

“New York State lied when they said that there were confirmed cases. We don’t know what kind of illnesses the kids had. And there’s a set of papers in the literature that specifically state that if the children are found by analysis to have a measles virus infection that is consistent with a side effect of the vaccine, it is important for the Department of Health to alert the public that it was a vaccine strain that caused the outbreak, because a vaccine strain illness should not be equated with a public health emergency. [Applause]”

Larry Palevsky

Yes, it is about the strains…

“So the reality is that when there is a vaccine strain measles outbreak, meaning that the vaccine itself was not properly attenuated, meaning it was more active and virulent than just simply giving an antibody response in the body, when that occurs an outbreak is almost always very very close to the vest, meaning that would explain why it was only seen in two communities out of 62. And if New York state had done the proper testing of the vaccine to see if it was too virulent and of the children who had the measles infection to see what type of measles virus they had, then in all likelihood this was a vaccine strain measles infection which is known to be a side effect of the vaccine and not a public health emergency.”

Larry Palevsky

Is any of that true?

Since we have never had an outbreak of measles from an MMR vaccine that wasn’t properly attenuated, I’m guessing no, it isn’t. Also remember that to control the outbreak, they gave lots and lots of MMR vaccine to unvaccinated folks in those communities…

What about his explanation for why we only saw outbreaks in Brooklyn and Rockland Counties? Well, for one thing, we didn’t. Other areas of New York and of course, around the country have seen a rise in measles. And the outbreaks in Brooklyn and Rockland Counties were caused when unvaccinated folks traveled to Israel, UK, and Ukraine and returned to an area with low immunization rates. They weren’t caused by a bad batch or mutant strains of measles in the MMR vaccine.

“So the New York State Department of Health failed to do their job and instead they lied and said the cases were confirmed and they didn’t do their due diligence to actually evaluate all the possible reasons that an outbreak could have occurred. It’s very strange that two communities where there are lots of people moving through those communities that are non-Jewish, that are outside of the state that are coming through and why just those communities got the illness. That should have raised the red flag that something else was going on and your state failed us.”

Is it possible that those other people moving in and out of those communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County were vaccinated and protected against measles?!?

One thing should be very clear.

Brooklyn may have stopped their measles outbreak, but New York still has a public health emergency on their hands.

Well, not just New York. We need to stop this kind of propaganda if we want to keep parents from being scared to immunize and protect their kids.

More on Measles in NY

What Does the Torah Say About Vaccines?

Even though I grew up in Borough Park section of Brooklyn, this is probably the last article I ever thought I would be writing…

From the P.E.A.C.H. anti-vaccine magazine.

After all, what do I know about the Torah?

What Does the Torah Say About Vaccines?

Fortunately, it isn’t hard to find experts who have answered the question for us.

“We are obliged by the Torah “Venishmartem Meod L’nafshoseichem,” – “to guard our health” and if the recognized experts are telling us to vaccinate, then we must do it.”

Der Yid Newspaper – Senseless! Heartless! Torah-less and Reckless

There are many people in the Orthodox community warning the parents who aren’t vaccinating their kids that they are on “the wrong path.”

Their choice to skip or delay vaccines and put their kids at risk is not about religion

“There are halachic obligations to care for one’s own health as well as to take measures to prevent harm and illness to others, and Jewish law defers to the consensus of medical experts in determining and prescribing appropriate medical responses to illness and prevention. Therefore, the consensus of major poskim (halachic decisors) supports the vaccination of children to protect them from disease, to eradicate illness from the larger community through so-called herd immunity, and thus to protect others who may be vulnerable. The vaccination of children who can medically be vaccinated is absolutely the only responsible course of action.”

Statement on Vaccinations from the OU and Rabbinical Council of America

Again, Orthodox Jews are not against vaccines.

“Getting vaccinated according to recommended guidelines is not only vital for the health of both our community and the public-at-large, but it is also our halachic obligation.”

Rabbi Hyim Shafner

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary. For all of us.

More on What the Torah Say About Vaccines

Which Measles Records Will We Break This Year?

Don’t think that this year’s measles outbreaks will break any records?

Wanna bet?

Which Measles Records Will We Break This Year?

Unfortunately, as measles cases rise, we keep breaking new records.

The Rockland County, New York measles outbreak, which has been going on since September 2018, has the record for being the longest outbreak since the endemic spread of measles was eliminated in the United States.

What other records will we break?

What other records are there?

  • 37 cases – the record low for the number of measles cases in a year, set in 2004
  • 667 cases – the recent record high set in 2014 and the most cases since 1994, when there were 963 cases.
  • 383 cases – the largest single outbreak since the endemic spread of measles was eliminated, set in Ohio in 2014

So, it’s late-May and there are over 965 cases and ongoing outbreaks in Rockland County and Brooklyn and many other places…

We are on course to break all of the measles records this year.
Very soon, there will already be more measles cases this year than any other since 1992, passing the old record set in 1994.

I’m thinking that we are on track to break all of the records!

Well, except for the record low one…

Will we ever get there again?

We just broke the 1994 record for the most cases in recent history!

The Brooklyn outbreak, with 550 cases, has already become the largest single outbreak since the endemic spread of measles was eliminated.

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and necessary. Get vaccinated and help stop the outbreaks.

More on Measles Records