Wednesday, January 25, 2017
California measles outbreak reportedly involves Orthodox Jewish community.
An ongoing measles outbreak in California is reportedly affecting a local Orthodox Jewish community.20 cases of measles have been confirmed so far, including 18 in the county encompassing Los Angeles. The outbreak has largely been limited to unvaccinated people in a single social group and the disease is spreading among personal contacts in the group. According to the Los Angeles Times, a rabbi who runs a Jewish health care foundation in the city said county health officials told him the outbreak was affecting the Orthodox Jewish population. The outbreak began in early December, about 5 months after a new state law eliminating all nonmedical vaccine exemptions, including those based on personal beliefs, took effect in California. The health department could not confirm vaccination against measles in any of the 18 patients in Los Angeles County and has reached out to leaders of the affected social group to encourage vaccination. According to the CDC, two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles. There has been a dramatic decline in measles in the United States from an estimated 3 to 4 million cases a year prior to the launch of a vaccination program in 1963 to just 70 documented cases in 2016, according to the CDC.