Why New York’s Measles Outbreak Is the Worst in Decades
New York State is in the middle of its worst measles epidemic in decades. Since September, the Empire State has recorded 167 cases of the measles, a highly infectious disease for which there is a widely available vaccine. That makes this the worst year for measles in the state since the 1990s, according to NBC News.
The reason for the current measles outbreak? Health officials believe the cause is a fairly straightforward combination of anti-vaccine propaganda (also known as anti-vax) combined with a lack of enforcement of school requirements that parents must vaccinate their children for contagious, spreadable diseases. Experts also suggest this outbreak, which threatens to become a major epidemic if not contained, may be due to a growing trend among some families to skip out on standard medical care, especially for children. When parents sidestep major vaccinations for their children, it can lower the herd immunity among kids and their peers. Herd immunity—that is, when enough people are vaccinated in a larger group—can prevent the wider spread of a contagious illness, even if some individuals do contract the disease.