Brooklyn Measles Outbreak Shows How Dangerous Anti-Vaxxers Can Be

An outbreak of measles that started back in March has sickened 58 people in a small group of families who had not vaccinated their children. Two pregnant women became sick, and one miscarried her child, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The families are in Orthodox Jewish communities located in Borough Hall and Williamsburg. The virus infected only un-vaccinated people, either children who were too young for the vaccine, or those whose parents have delayed or refused it, a Health Department spokeswoman told NY Daily News in May.

Measles is a preventable disease. The outbreak was started by someone who had recently visited London, where there is a large measles outbreak, then returned to the densely populated community with the virus.

The communities have had problems with preventable infectious diseases before, including a mumps outbreak that sickened 3,000 in 2009.

Rabbis in the community are reaching out to families to ensure they get their kids vaccinated, so delayed vaccinations are likely a result of the growing anti-vaccine movement, fuelled by celebrity anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy, who was recently appointed to “The View.”

McCarthy and other anti-vaxxers ignore the science behind vaccinations and endanger people’s lives because of it. You might think that it’s your kid and your decision, but if infected with a virus they can spread that virus to people who are either too young to be vaccinated, or who don’t have a healthy enough immune system to be vaccinated.

Vaccination rates have to be about 95% to get this herd immunity, and when anti-vaccine thoughts spread the vaccination rates can drop below this level especially in small communities.

Vaccines are safe, and effective. Without the measles vaccine 2.7 million people would die of the infection every year.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.