New Measles Outbreak Confirmed in Oakland County Michigan

New Measles Outbreak Confirmed in Oakland County Michigan March 22, 2019
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A measles outbreak is spreading quickly in Oakland County, Michigan. The outbreak started after an Isreali citizen traveled to New York and contracted the virus there. After contracting the virus, the individual brought the virus to Michigan. Michigan state health department reported this morning that there are nine confirmed cases.

On March 13 Oakland County Health Department announced a case of the measles within the Orthodox Jewish community. Initially, the department believed the virus would remain contained, but eight days later the virus is spreading.

According to the Oakland County Health Department, an individual traveled from New York to Michigan. While in New York, the person contracted the measles virus. The Orthodox Jewish community in New York is battling an outbreak of the measles. Since October 2018, the Centers for Disease Control reports 181 cases of measles in the Queens and the Bronx.

The CDC reports that the virus arrived in New York after a member of the community traveled to Israel. From March 2018 through the end of January 2019, The State of Israel Ministry of Health reported 3400 cases of the measles. The outbreak has still not been contained there.

With Orthodox Jewish populations in New York, the virus has been able to grip hold of Rockland County. Now the New York outbreak has spread to Michigan. The Detroit Metro area has a large Orthodox Jewish community. State officials hoped the measles would remain within the community, but infected individuals traveled to dozens of public locations.

As a result, Oakland County issued a list of all potential exposure sights in the area.  The list includes two Lowe’s locations, Home Depot, and the county courthouse.

While most Jewish people vaccinate their children, a small population of ultra-orthodox Jewish people rejects vaccines. In New York, Rabbi William Handler pushes the debunked theory that vaccines cause autism. The community has also been infiltrated by organizations that spread fear-mongering about vaccines.

Since March 13 the virus has spread to eight individuals, and the Oakland County Health Department anticipates that number will continue to grow. To combat the spread, the department is setting up vaccination clinics near the community to vaccinate anyone at risk of contracting the virus.

A communication network within the Orthodox Jewish community sent out messages from schools and synagogues to alert people about the outbreak. The network enabled critical information about the measles to get to the wider community. Additionally, the network urged unvaccinated individuals to get vaccinated.

Anti-Vax propaganda spread both online and through non-profit groups has led to a decline in vaccination rates around the country. There are now seven areas of the country battling measles outbreaks. The CDC reports 268 cases of the measles so far this year. 2019 is on pace to be one of the most significant years of measles cases in more than a decade.

As more social media platforms work to stop the spread of anti-vaccine misinformation, the measles continues to ravage the country.

At what point will the federal government step in to stop the personal exemptions that enable parents to opt out of vaccines?

America has an anti-vaccine problem. Our lawmakers need to step up and solve the problem.


*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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