Over 34,000 cases of measles in last two months in Eastern Europe

❝ More than 34,000 people across Europe caught measles in the first two months of 2019, with the vast majority of cases in Ukraine, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday as it urged authorities to ensure vulnerable people get vaccinated.

❝ The death toll among 34,300 cases reported across 42 countries in the WHO’s European region reached 13, with the virus killing people in Ukraine – which is suffering a measles epidemic – as well as in Romania and Albania. The risk is that outbreaks may continue to spread, the WHO warned.

❝ Measles is a highly contagious disease that can kill and cause blindness, deafness or brain damage. It can be prevented with two doses of an effective vaccine, but – in part due to pockets of unvaccinated people – it is currently spreading in outbreaks in many parts of the world including in the United States, the Philippines and Thailand…

There is no specific antiviral treatment for measles, and vaccination is the only way to prevent it, the WHO said. Most cases are in unvaccinated or under-vaccinated people.

And if the anti-vaxxers get their political way, we will return to the days of my childhood. Every spring my fellow students would gather in the schoolyard first warm day – look around to see who died or was unable to resume school from one or another disease.

And then we waited for polio in the summer.

Anti-vaccination nutballs are a plague unto all

❝ An outbreak of measles four years ago at Disneyland focused attention on a growing health menace — the refusal of parents to vaccinate their children. The threat has gone international. The World Health Organization has just named the anti-vaccination movement among the 10 biggest global health crises…

❝ The “vaccine-hesitant” — the WHO’s politer term — often wave ignorant junk-science claims that vaccines can cause autism. This dangerous lie gained traction in a 1998 article published in the prestigious British journal The Lancet. It turned out that lawyers suing vaccine-makers were funding the author, Andrew Wakefield. Britain subsequently stripped Wakefield of the right to practice medicine.

❝ In this country, 18 states still allow “nonmedical exemptions” for vaccinating children based on a philosophical belief. Requests for such exemptions are rising in 12 of them.

New York state is seeing its most troubling measles outbreak in decades. Almost all the cases occur among ultra-Orthodox Jews, whose insular communities have been ripe for anti-vaccine propagandists. William Handler, an Orthodox rabbi in Brooklyn, told Vox that parents who “placate the gods of vaccination” are engaging in “child sacrifice…”

Once vaccination levels fall below 95 percent, epidemiologists explain, there aren’t enough people to hold the disease in check. And measles is highly contagious. The virus floats in the air and can live on surfaces for hours.

Scientifically-illiterate Americans have a perfect right to infect their families with preventable diseases in a number of states. Introducing contagion – of course – which especially threatens so many others whose circumstances are limited by income and age.