A person infected with measles ought to cooperate with health personnel to contain the disease. He should tell them the symptoms he is experiencing and the people he has come into contact. Majority people cooperate while others do not.
One person from Rockland County in New York recently stopped cooperating with investigators. The county is among the most hit by measles outbreak.
John Lyon said that they were at Target in Spring Valley in New York. Unfortunately, they stopped picking phone calls; thus they didn’t know at what time they were there according to Lyon. It is critical since measles can stay in the air and on the surface for two hours. Therefore, investigators need to know the time of public exposure to protect other people from contracting the disease.
The county issued warning of possible exposure for two days, March 10th and 11th to protect mothers and residents who may be worried.
Due to the increasing number of people refusing to cooperate with investigators, the county banned unvaccinated people below 18 years from going to public places. The plan is not seeking to request for medical records but anyone below 18 who is not vaccinated and is in a public place, he or she will be prosecuted.
There will be now effects of not cooperating with investigators. If people can do this on their own, the better, but others won’t. This is endangering the community around, friends and neighbors.
Another Entrenched Outbreak
Apart from Rockland County, Brooklyn and Queens got zip codes to restrict them from accessing some areas. Children who are not vaccinated are not allowed to go to Orthodox Jewish Schools until they are vaccinated.
The method did not work because there were violations of the orders leading to transmissions. There were 214 cases from Brooklyn and Queens while in Borough Park were 47 and Williamsburg 161.
Lanza said that principals risked being imposed a fine of $2,000 for every unvaccinated child for allowing them into the school. Principals are in charge of schools; hence they should enforce exclusion orders to reduce the magnitude of measles.
Health officials are working hard to ensure that they get the situation under control. Rockland has vaccinated 17,000 people within six months and 7,000 more vaccinations in Borough Park and Williamsburg. However, new cases are arising every day.
Blima Marcus a resident of Borough Park and a nurse is educating the locals on the importance of vaccines. She realized there was booklet going around discouraging people from getting vaccinated. PEACH, Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health was behind the booklet and directed it to the Orthodox community. Those against the vaccination claim that it is contrary to the Old Testament teaching.
Every individual must ensure they safeguard their health. Parents should ensure that their children are vaccinated. Rabbi Avi Greenstein added that they are doing everything to ensure the disease does not spread to the community.
It is Easy to Create Fear
Dr Sean O’Leary noticed that the booklet has a lot of misinformation. However, he doesn’t know the much impact it has on religion as it does on health. It seems that much information in the booklet is from other sources. Either way, there is an impact of the misinformation.
The outbreak of measles is as a result of the failure of parents to immunize their children. The problem is the myths spreading around about vaccines. For instance, one of the myths is that vaccines cause autism. Shevi Rosner also confirmed that the content of the booklet are all myths although it looks professional and factual.
The booklet also has a section of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV). The booklet also states that unvaccinated children are not a risk to their peers. Because most of this community does not use the internet, they will read these booklets and believe them.
Countering The Message
Rosner said that they had put a lot of effort to counter the misinformation. They have done a lot of research and put facts at the need of every false statement. Vaccine Task Force will publish and distribute books to prove that all these are myths.
The hard task is how to counter the vaccine conference hotline that is organized by PEACH. It is held to discuss the effects of vaccines. The conference argues that it is the right of every mother to offer religious, nutritional and parenting advice to their children.
A Different Approach
Outbreaks in close-knit communities are frequent like the outbreak that happened in 2014. It lasted four months and 383 cases reported. Also, in 2017 there was an outbreak in Minnesota, a Somali-American community. It was also as a result of misinformation. It lasted three months and 79 illnesses reported. The majority of those who were sick were unvaccinated children.
O’Leary said that health personnel needed to develop ways to counter misinformation and provide accurate medical information.