Via the Los Angeles Times: Measles outbreak grows in L.A.'s Orthodox Jewish community despite California's strict new vaccination law. Excerpt:
Six months after California’s strict vaccine law took effect, a measles outbreak has infected 20 people, most of them in Los Angeles County, prompting a search for others who may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus.
Most of the patients live in western areas of the county, including L.A.’s Westside, the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Fernando Valley. Santa Barbara and Ventura counties each reported one case.
At least 15 of the 18 L.A. County patients either knew one another or had a clear social connection, said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, interim health officer for the L.A. County Department of Public Health. None of the 18 could provide proof of vaccination, he said.
Gunzenhauser said the first person was diagnosed in early December, followed by 16 cases in the last three weeks of 2016, and then one more case last week.
“I’m hopeful that we’re getting to the end of this,” he said.
Hershy Z. Ten, a rabbi who runs Jewish healthcare foundation Bikur Cholim in L.A.’s Beverly Grove neighborhood, said county health officials told him a measles outbreak was affecting the county’s Orthodox Jewish community. He convened a panel last week to discuss steps that Jewish day schools and synagogues could take to stem the outbreak and ensure unvaccinated children are immunized. Seven cases of measles reported in L.A. County
“Measles is very, very serious,” he said. “Those children are at risk and they put other children at risk.”
A measles outbreak that began at Disneyland in 2014 infected 145 people across the United States, as well as dozens in Canada and Mexico. It led to the passage of a law in California requiring all children to be vaccinated unless a doctor provides a medical exemption. The law took effect in July.
California is now one of three states that forbid children from opting out of vaccines because of religious or personal beliefs.
Health experts say the outbreak reveals the degree to which immunity against the disease has eroded — a problem the new law will probably improve but not completely fix.