A state of health emergency was declared in New York, more particularly in Williamsburg, in the district of Brooklyn. The mayor has required all the inhabitants of the area to be vaccinated against measles, under penalty of a fine and criminal prosecution.
What's going on in the hipster neighbourhood of Williamsburg? The old working-class district is now filled with ethical coffee shops and electric bikes, and apparently people affected by measles. So much so that the mayor of the city declared a state of health emergency. Read on to find out more.
A fine in case of non-vaccination
All people who ‘may have been exposed to measles’ will need to be vaccinated, says the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio who announced the measures. And the fine is not cheap, at £765.
But why a compulsory vaccination?
Whilst the illness had previously been all but eradicated, it is back in force in the largest city in the United States. In fact, there have been at least 285 cases of measles in New York City alone, while in 2016, there were 86 people affected by this disease… in the entire country.
Whose fault is it?
It is complicated to blame a particular group of people, but the upsurge of anti-vaccine movements are likely responsible for the return of measles. According to the WHO, vaccination prevents 2 to 3 million deaths a year. Still, according to the World Health Organisation, 1.5 million additional lives could be saved by improving immunisation coverage around the world. 18.7 million children, nearly 1 in 5 worldwide, do not yet benefit from some routine vaccinations for preventable diseases.
According to reports, this resurgence of measles could also be linked to anti-vaxxers in religious communities, such as orthodox Jews in New York. So far, the town hall allowed the access of unvaccinated children in school for religious reasons, now this will no longer be the case.
What is measles?
It is a viral infection resulting in an attack on the respiratory tract. It is an extremely contagious disease that affects mostly children but can affect people of all ages. Contrary to what some people think, measles is a serious disease that can lead to serious complications and even death.
Globally, measles remains a big threat and one of the leading causes of death among young children. According to statistics, it infects more than 20 million people each year and killed 164,000 people in 2008, the majority of whom were children under five.
Why not vaccinate your children?
The main fear of parents is that the measles vaccine transmits autism, which is completely false.