According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the feat was accomplished through a “highly effective measles vaccine, a strong vaccination program that achieves high coverage in children and a strong public health system for detecting and responding to measles cases.”
But almost 20 years later, the measles are back.
In 2019, there have been 555 measles cases reported nationwide as of last week. That’s the second-highest number of reported cases since the turn of the century. In 2014, there were 667 reported cases.
The measles outbreaks largely affected New York City, where 329 cases have been confirmed by the Health Department. Most of them are concentrated in Williamsburg and Borough Park.
Another 186 confirmed cases of measles have hit Rockland County.
According to the CDC, the measles can return when unvaccinated travelers contract the disease while in other countries. Measles is highly contagious, which makes unvaccinated people at risk.
In New York City, five cases, including the initial case, were acquired on a visit to Israel. Two others contacted measles in the U.K., and one person from Ukraine.
According to the Health Department, the disease has also spread because of a “small group of anti-vaxxers” who have been “spreading dangerous misinformation based on fake science.”
While the government should respect individual and religious liberty, the anti-vaccination movement has gone too far and left too many kids at risk.
The Health Department was right to move aggressively to contain and address the outbreak. As a city, state and country, we must do everything we can to eliminate measles once again.
That starts by defeating false notions that vaccinations do more harm than good.
Then we can start to rid the world of measles by 2020, which all member states of the World Health Organization have committed to achieve.