Note: Thank you to Becca Tucker for a rational look at the measles outbreak.
By Becca Tucker
A six-month measles outbreak has Rockland County in a state of emergency, with unvaccinated kids barred first from school and then, in a move that made international headlines, from public places.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and health officials say the extraordinary measures are necessary to protect the public from a highly contagious and potentially dangerous disease.
A growing group of concerned parents is suing, saying the county’s strong-arm tactics are out of proportion and imperil families’ rights to make appropriate medical choices for their children.
Dr. Hendrieka Fitzpatrick, a general practitioner in New Jersey with an expertise in women’s and children’s health, is one of those people who say the county has gone too far. “We can’t start taking people’s choice away” over the measles vaccine.
Regarding measles itself, Fitzpatrick said: “I’m not saying it’s not miserable, but it’s not life threatening” in the Western world. “It’s probably milder in children than the flu,” she said.
The last measles death in the U.S. occurred in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Severe measles, the kind that can kill you, “is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases,” the World Health Organization says on its website. “More than 95 percent of measles deaths occur in countries with low per capita incomes and weak health infrastructures.” READ MORE HERE AT The Advertiser-News.