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Measles outbreaks among Orthodox Jewish communities in New York and Michigan: Compare and contrast

There’s an ongoing measles outbreak among the Orthodox Jewish community in southeast Michigan. The genesis of the outbreak is more complex than the usual “antivaxers did it” narrative, and this outbreak shows how we’re all interconnected.

After my repairs three weeks ago, I’m trying to get back up to speed, both at work on on this blog. On the blog, I’m finding that trying to catch up on all the crazy things that occurred while I was down for repairs is as good a way as any, even if I can’t yet manage a post more than two or three times a week. So it was that I started my return with a discussion of how a Daily Beast editor managed to inadvertently make an antivaxer whom we all know and detest look more like an iconoclast than a dangerous crank. This time around, I’d like to concentrate on a more local story about the current measles outbreak going on in southeast Michigan. The story might be local, but it illustrates a couple of important things. First, it shows that, for all the reports of outbreaks among Orthodox Jewish communities, both here in the US and in Israel, not all Orthodox communties are the same in their response. Second, I can see parallels between the Orthodox Jewish communities who did fall for antivaccine misinformation (such as those in Brooklyn) and those who did not (our very own southeast Michigan community). Finally, our outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community here demonstrates how our interconnectedness leaves us vulnerable to toutbreaks when susceptible people congregate, regardless of whether the cause of susceptibility is antivaccine beliefs or other causes.

First, let’s get into a little background. Thanks largely to the antivaccine movement, there are multiple measles outbreaks around the country. According to the CDC, as of April 11 there were 555 cases documented in 20 states, more than the total number of cases recorded in the last three years. It is, as the CDC notes, This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the US in a given year since measles was eliminated in 2000, and we’re only a little more than one quarter of the way through 2019. At this pace, we’re unfortunately currently on track to surpass 2014 nationwide total of 667 cases—and by a huge margin.

By far the largest of these outbreaks is centered in Brooklyn and Queens, where, as of April 15, there have been 329 confirmed cases since October (273 so far in 2019), most of which involved members of the Orthodox Jewish communities in those boroughs. The New York City Department of Health notes:

The initial child with measles was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring. Since then, there have been additional people from Brooklyn and Queens who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel. People who did not travel were also infected in Brooklyn or Rockland County.

I’ve written about the measles outbreaks among the Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel before recently. It’s an outbreak that’s led the Israeli Ministry of Health to crack down on physicians who promote antivaccine misinformation.

The NYC Department of Health mentioned Rockland County, because further up the Hudson River, in that county in New York state, there’s another outbreak ongoing, whose 2018-2019 total is up to 186 cases, which the Rockland County Department of Health breaks down this way:

Vaccination rates for confirmed measles cases in Rockland County as of April 15, 2019:

  • 81.2% have had 0 MMRs
  • 4.3% have had 1 MMR
  • 3.2% have had 2 MMRs
  • 11.3% unknown status

Unsurprisingly, it’s mainly the unvaccinated falling victim to (and spreading) measles in Rockland County.

You might remember that when our old antivaccine “buddy” Del Bigtree donned a Yellow Star of David with the words “no vax” on it, he claimed that he was doing it in solidarity with the Orthodox Jewish communities of Brooklyn, Queens, and Rockland County and their “persecution” by the state in the form of an order by Rockland County that the unvaccinated cannot go to public places (since stayed in legal proceedings) and the then-impending mandatory vaccination order by NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio.

Elsewhere another large outbreak is in progress centered in Clark County, WA just across the Columbia River from Portland, OR. There, they’re up to 74 cases as of April 10. Not surprisingly, a prominent antivaxer, Dr. Paul Thomas, whom I’ve called a “rising star” of the antivaccine movement, practices in Portland and is making claims that he has almost no autism among his unvaccinated patients.

Here We have a measles outbreak that’s currently up to 42 cases. However, here things are a bit different. In contrast to the New York and Rockland County outbreaks the Orthodox Jewish community here has reacted much more responsibly, and, although the cause of the outbreak is similar (a traveler who was in the three week period before symptoms when still infectious), the reason for spreading is different, as I learned from our local paper, The Detroit Free Press, in an article entitled “How Oakland Co.’s Orthodox Jewish enclave became the epicenter for Michigan measles outbreak“. It’s a story that’s now gone national, with additional reporting from The Washington Post and other outlets. As you’ll see, I was in error when I first reported on this outbreak three weeks ago (maybe my malfunctioning component was to blame); it’s far less due to Michigan antivaxers than it is to adults with little immunity to measles infected by a traveler from Brooklyn.

Here’s how The Washington Post reported it:

Last month, a traveler raising money for charity in Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community drove through the night to Detroit — his next fundraising stop. He felt sick en route and saw a doctor when he got there. But the doctor, who had never seen measles, misdiagnosed the man’s fever and cough as bronchitis.

During the next two weeks, the traveler would become Michigan’s Patient Zero, spreading the highly contagious respiratory virus to 39 people as he stayed in private homes, attended synagogue daily and shopped in kosher markets. His case offers a cautionary tale about how easily one of the most infectious pathogens on the planet spreads within close-knit communities — especially those whose members live, work and socialize outside the mainstream.

“Every one of our cases has had a link to the initial case,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County, a Detroit suburb where all but one case was reported.

As the Free Press reported over the weekend:

Once he got to Michigan, the man spent his time at Jewish synagogues and institutions to pray and study every day from March 6-13, unaware that he was spreading the virus along the way.

As one of the victims explained:

Eliav Shoshana, a father of six from Southfield, didn’t know that the traveler had exposed him to the measles at Congregation Yagdil Torah in Southfield on March 9, said his wife, Henny Shoshana.

“My husband was sitting in a synagogue and studying Torah and praying” that day, Henny Shoshana said. “He realized in retrospect there had been a person there who seemed sick and was coughing a lot. He was covering his mouth. … I am sure he was horrified when he realized what had occurred. He probably had no idea that he had measles and that it is so highly contagious, even covering your mouth can allow some droplets to escape.”

Recall that measles is incredibly contagious, with at least 90% of susceptible people exposed to it coming down with the disease. It’s every easily spread through droplets from sneezes and coughs. That’s what happened. It didn’t help that the exposures occurred right before a major Jewish holiday:

“There was this perfect storm that led to the outbreak in the Michigan Orthodox community,” Henny Shoshana said. “In the run-up to this holiday, which as you can imagine takes a lot of preparation … people were contagious but not aware yet they were sick — either entirely asymptomatic or maybe feeling a little under the weather.

“Because it happened over Purim, the breadth of the exposure was enormous, obviously. That’s really the story of what happened over here.”

She recalls celebrating Purim at parties on the evening of March 20 and continuing until March 21.

“We went to this big party that had at least 150 people there, including infants and pregnant women,” she said. “And again, we went not knowing he was sick at all, and certainly not with the measles. Then, that night, he came home, and it was very clear he had a fever. So he stayed in bed.”

Also, before the characteristic rash appears, the early symptoms of measles can easily be confused with other febrile illnesses. Now here’s where it gets interesting. As reported in The Washington Post, the man who had traveled from Brooklyn was initially not correctly diagnosed. He saw a doctor upon his arrival to Michigan because he had a fever and a cough. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic. The man developed a rash the next day. Initially the doctor thought it was an allergic reaction, but then he started to worry that it might be measles:

But after the doctor thought more about it, he worried about the possibility of measles and decided to leave a voice message for the health department with the man’s cellphone number. Health officials jumped on the case — but couldn’t reach the man because of a problem with his cellphone.

They turned to Steve McGraw, head of Oakland emergency medical services and longtime member of the Detroit-area Hatzalah, the ultra-Orthodox community’s emergency medical response group, an all-volunteer effort with deep ties to many families. McGraw alerted rabbinical leaders, then jumped in his car and drove to the area the traveler was supposed to be staying to look for the man’s rental car, a blue sedan, knowing it would stand out among the minivans used by virtually every family.

Hatzalah members and rabbinical leaders also mobilized to search for the traveler, who was staying in a neighborhood guesthouse. When they found him a few hours later, the traveler was stunned. He told McGraw and the rabbi who found him they had to be wrong since he believed he had had the measles.

“There is only one disease, and you have it,” McGraw recalled saying, as one rabbi translated into Hebrew. “He put his head down and was very emotional. I could tell from the look on his face that he was devastated. He was doing the math in his head,” counting all the people he had been in contact with, McGraw said.

On March 13, serological tests confirmed that the traveler had measles and that his strain matched the strain causing the New York City outbreak.

Now here’s where our outbreak is different than the other outbreaks going on in the US and, in particular, from the one currently raging among NYC’s Orthodox Jewish communities. There, the measles outbreak occurred mainly among unvaccinated and undervaccinated children. Here, the outbreak occurred primarily in susceptible adults. It turns out that a lot of adults are not adequately covered for measles. Either they don’t have documentation of having been vaccinated with MMR or their immunity has waned. What facilitated the spread of measles within the Oakland County Orthodox Jewish community was that there was a larger number of susceptible people than thought. There were many adults who thought they were immune who turned out not to be. I’ll admit that this outbreak is leading me to contact my doctor to see if I should have my titers checked or just get an MMR booster, as I’m right in the age range where my immunity might not be what it should be.

The reaction in Michigan has also been also much different than the reaction in NYC has been thus far. Whereas in NYC, cooperation with health officials has been problematic, here in Michigan the Orthodox Jewish community went all in cooperating with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

For example, The Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Detroit issued a statement:

Statement of Orthodox Jewish Rabbis of Greater Detroit

The response was immediate and striking. Members of the Orthodox Jewish Community turned out in droves to be vaccinated. In just three days, the health division administered 970 MMR vaccinations, and in one week the health department gave over 2,000 doses of MMR, not counting the hundreds of vaccine doses administered in private doctors’ offices to babies, children, and adults for whom documentation of measles vaccination could not be found. There’s a reason why the number of new measles cases in Michigan has slowed to a trickle over the last couple of weeks. Clearly, if it hadn’t been for the quick action of the state and county health officials and the Orthodox Jewish community’s enthusiastic cooperation and effective communication network that warned people and urged them to be vaccinated, our outbreak would likely have been far worse.

So why is the Michigan outbreak among its Orthodox Jewish community so different from the NYC and Rockland County outbreaks. The reason, I think, is that our Orthodox communities haven’t been targeted by antivaxers. As reported by NBC News, in Brooklyn, an anonymous group of antivaxers called Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health, or PEACH, published an antivaccine magazine for Orthodox Jewish parents. Copies of the magazine were passed from person to person:

Inside its 40 pages, between cartoons mocking the medical establishment, PEACH’s magazine inaccurately suggests vaccines are made up of “toxins.” Without evidence, it claims that vaccines are the nation’s greatest threat to public health, linked to autism, ADHD, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, miscarriage and other maladies.

A note from the handbook’s editor in chief explains why Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health is an anonymous organization: “Please forgive us for our anonymity. It is not because we don’t believe in our cause. We do! It is because many of us have suffered abuse from fellow community members for questioning the medical authorities and advocating for children’s health.”

Yet according to New York State’s Department of State and internet domain registration records, PEACH appears to be linked both to a decade-old misinformation hotline targeting the Orthodox community and to Enriched Parenting, a website that peddles new-age cures from a Jewish perspective alongside vaccine hoaxes.

The magazine is available online, and I perused a copy. It’s chock full of pretty much every antivaccine trope, distortion, and lie you can think of, including claims linking vaccines to autism, sudden infant death syndrome, and brain damage; the “toxins” gambit that claims vaccines are chock full of nasty “toxins”; the (mis)informed consent gambit; the intellectually dishonestvaccines didn’t save us” gambit; and more. Basically, if I’ve written about it here, it’s probably in PEACH’s misinformation-filled booklet. The twist here is that it appears from my perspective that PEACH is an anonymized marketing arm of Enriched Parenting designed to sell quackery among the Orthodox Jewish community.

Does the spreading of antivaccine propaganda among the Orthodox Jewish community in NYC sound familiar? It should. It’s very much similar to how antivaccine advocates targeted another vulnerable community, the Somali immigrants in Minnesota, leading to huge measles outbreaks. Basically, white privileged antivaxers saw a community receptive to their message, and they pounced, even doubling down in the midst of massive measles outbreaks.

The narrative is not as simple as saying that antivaxers are solely responsible for measles outbreaks. They are, without a doubt, a major factor, but other factors contribute as well. In the case of Orthodox Jewish communities, there are important differences, and in Michigan Orthodox Jews are concerned that a false narrative is developing that Orthodox Jews are antivaccine:

That’s a misconception that also worries David Kurzmann, executive director of Jewish Community Relations Council of Metro Detroit/AJC.

“It’s troubling to hear that perception, and … we unfortunately could see this story brewing,” he said.

“Let’s set the record straight. The reality is that the Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Detroit, which is sort of the umbrella for all of the orthodox synagogues and rabbis, they put out a very clear, unequivocal statement that families are obligated to vaccinate their children and that community members who are not vaccinated are obligated by Jewish law … to go and get vaccinated and if you are showing any symptoms of the measles, you are forbidden in their viewpoint from engaging in the community.

“In Judaism, protecting life and the preservation of life supersedes every other precept and commandment. You can break the rules of the Sabbath to save a life. There is just nothing more important than that. And so the perception that the Jewish community would be the ones perpetrating this intentionally is factually incorrect and you know, for many members of our community, it’s causing great anxiety because frankly it’s offensive.”

Finally, antivaxers are an easy scapegoat, the more so because they most definitely do contribute to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Indeed, in the US, arguably they are the biggest contributors to outbreaks. However, antivaxers could not be so effective if there were not other factors that leave people unvaccinated or susceptible to disease for other reasons. Combatting antivaccine misinformation is still critical to containing outbreaks and preventing new ones, but, as the measles outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community here shows, we are all interconnected. “Patient zero” was exposed to measles in Brooklyn, likely because antivaccine views resulted in low vaccine uptake there, but his causing an outbreak in Michigan arguably had nothing to do with high levels of antivaccine views here. We should not forget to pay attention to other factors that leave people susceptible to measles, even as the media reports antivaxers’ contributions to the current outbreaks.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

68 replies on “Measles outbreaks among Orthodox Jewish communities in New York and Michigan: Compare and contrast”

It was announced today that the state legislature here in NJ will be holding hearings in the near future about removing non-medical exemptions for vaccines. The anti-vaxxers will howl. Hopefully, the politicians won’t listen.

Time to see if I can find my vaccine card and make sure I had two doses of the MMR. If not, anyone know what titers cost?

I had my titer done about a year ago, and it was the same price range as other “blood work” and covered by insurance. I’m in the US, though, where prices and insurance coverage vary wildly, so the price could be anything in some other US location.

The outbreak here is Vancouver appears to be petering out, kids were stopped from going to school without proof of vaccination, and the public health nurses, here at the clinic I work at, were inundated with vaccine requests and put on multiple pop up inoculation clinics, I’ll have to ask them if I remember how many vaccines they gave out, sounded like an awful lot.

CBC this morning was reporting an newly arrived measles case via the Vancouver airport. The person had come in on a Japan Air flight, but there was no mention of where the person had been.

And this morning, in Politico;
“Republicans Reject Democrat-Led Attempts At Tightening State Vaccine Laws”

Interesting point near the end; pro-vax advocates worried that eliminating all but medical exemptions will create a backlash and make things worse:

But research by Neal Goldstein of Drexel University’s public health school suggests the issue of vaccine mandates has indeed entered a hyper-partisan landscape. As a result, he said, it may be wise to avoid legislation when possible to avoid opening more wounds. Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, said, “My concern is that tightening requirements through the political process risks politicizing an issue that we can’t allow to be politicized if we’re going to maintain public health.”

I wonder if they’re unduly afraid of the cranks, as SB277 seems to have had a positive effect here in CA…

Public health shouldn’t be a political issue. Public Health is one of those “basic part of minimal civilization” things like roads and water (and tax collection). It’s nothing new, heck, the ancient Romans had health-and-safety laws about where you could bury the dead (outside the town walls) and forms of quarantine go back centuries.

That issues of really basic public health like infectious disease and safe drinking water are political is a real problem for everyone.

“Public Health is one of those “basic part of minimal civilization” things like roads and water (and tax collection).”

Which all are heavily politicized issues. For instance, hydrodiplomacy IS a big thing in itself. Just look at the near middle east to convince yourself that water is a big political issue.

Not even going to start writing on taxation…

If people want to screw public health, they should be free to do it.

F68.10 “If people want to screw public health, they should be free to do it”

Uh, no.

See, here’s the thing about humans living in groups. Disease is pretty much guaranteed. It’s simply a function of living in groups. But, unchecked by actions of the group, “living in groups” rapidly becomes “dying in groups”. That is why, throughout recorded history, people who live in large settled groups have taken actions to address the spread of infectious disease (as best they understood it).

Those actions might be things like making rules about when and where and how you bury the dead. Or what food you eat. And as understanding of the mechanism behind disease has improved over time, those rules have become more effective. The relationship of sewage and drinking water (ie, don’t put your poop in the drinking water) is an excellent example.

If one person, or a small group decides to “screw it” then a lot of people are at risk of serious illness or death, through no action of their own.

Here’s another example: In many towns in Europe through the middle ages laws were passed banning thatched roofs because they are very susceptible to fire. This is only a problem for one home if the house is out among farm fields, but in a town one spark could burn down the whole town. Since having your town burn down is not to anyone’s advantage, thatched roofs were banned.

It’s the same thing. When a human lives as part of a group, their actions affect the group. Thus the group puts limitations on the actions of individuals to protect the whole group.

I agree that access to water is a huge power struggle, and again a very old one. What, until recently, wasn’t up for debate politically, was that people need safe water. The idea that people need access to safe drinking water shouldn’t be a political question, even if the distribution of that water is a hugely political issue.

Does that make sense?

It does make sense. But you missed my point: I’m eager to see (or test) the limits of democratic systems. It’s only by confronting their limitations that such systems will be able to evolve and adapt. If these systems are not up to the task, I want to know, based on evidence.

F68.10, I’m confused. We already know what happens to public health when systems of government break down: outbreaks of previously controlled diseases. Example: Measles in Syria.

Are you saying you want to see how governments respond to people why actively work against public health?
I mean, bioterroism is a crime in most places that have the time to worry about it.

Or are you talking about how governments respond to people who reject the basic social contracts but insist on continuing to live in society while putting others at risk?

I mean, the US is shockingly lenient about that. Claim religion and you can kill a lot of children without legal repercussions. Hell, in most states it’s surprisingly hard to lose a driver’s license for drunk driving.


I’m not gonna touch “If people want to screw public health, they should be free to do it.” But Nyhan’s assertion “we can’t allow [vaccination] to be politicized if we’re going to maintain public health” is either naive or fatalistic since the issue obviously has already been politicized – meaning a subject of partisan political contestation in the public sphere. The horse is already out of the corral. It’s also true that Public Health, Public Roads, Public Water Works and Tax Collection are all inevitably political issues in the broader sense because even when they proceed under a bipartisan consensus or under the supervision of “objective” “non-partisan” “experts” that’s only the result of some political process.

BTW, you don’t need to look to current events in the near Middle East to convince yourself that water is a big political issue. Just look at the history of Los Angeles (only somewhat exaggeratedly dramatized in Chinatown). Wherever you live, if you look deep into the politics of road construction and maintenance you’ll likely find something hair-raising nearby… And truth requires me to observe that where the basic public health issue of safe drinking water has become political (Flint) it’s not the same real problem for everyone, but falls disproportionately on the backs of poor people of color..

@ F68.10, JustaTech, Sadmar

If I may… (please correct me if I’m overstepping)

I already have seen this sort of back-and-forth numerous times. I think the discussion/confusion is about the use of the words of the “political” family.

F68.10 use “politics” in the sense of “let’s address a societal issue through a debate of ideas/beliefs about the best way to do it”. The original meaning of politics/policy. Ideally, that’s what governing ought to be about, at least in a system with a house of elected representatives.
(what we laymen in Europe call a democracy of the representative type, but I learned recently that some Americans have a much more narrow definition of ‘democracy’ – um, sorry, I digress, although I’m still on the meaning of words)

Brendan Nyhan, and in a more nuanced way JustaTech, use “politics”/”politicize” to mean “let’s grab a public topic and either make it a controversial issue or appropriate it, so I, the politician, can ride on it and appear wise and leader-like”.
That we French spent a decade or two calling “politique politicienne”, although, like “politically correct”, the original meaning got lost and now it’s used to denigrate anything we don’t like.
In the case of Nyhan, he seems to say “don’t bring it up, it will just end up with angry people shouting at one another”. Which may not be a misplaced concern, notably in the current US political climate, but that’s overlooking the fact that by avoiding a potential political conflict, you are also avoiding making decisions on how the country should be ruled.
(OK, my French cultural biases are now showing, with this belief in State interventionism being needed)
JustaTech’s point is that societal health issues ought not to be a political conflict. It’s the scientist/engineer position.

Apologies to Sadmar, I think you already know and explained this. I wanted to make a Cliffnote version.

As JustaTech said, it shouldn’t be a political issue to begin with. It probably can’t be disentangled at this point but health departments should have more autonomy. They need to be more nimble to respond to health threats rather than wait for legislative procedures.

“They need to be more nimble to respond to health threats rather than wait for legislative procedures.”

Yes and no. While I agree that your suggestion would be a good idea, I have two caveats. One of which is the following: There are two ways to implement democratic oversight of public health policies. You can wait for democratic approval before implementing public health policies, which would not make public health authorities more nimble. Or you can give autonomy to public health authorities and implement an a posteriori democratic oversight, which strikes a balance between the two necessities of autonomy and oversight.

It’s not a black and white issue. You do not have to chose between autonomy and oversight. You can have both.

I’m not going to answer in details to all the other issues I’ve raised. Perfectly happy with the thoughts it triggered in replies. It’s not because I’m not in perfect agreement with them that I’ll continue digging that specific rabbit hole on purpose.

Or you can give autonomy to public health authorities and implement an a posteriori democratic oversight, which strikes a balance between the two necessities of autonomy and oversight.

It’s not a black and white issue. You do not have to chose between autonomy and oversight. You can have both.

With my limited knowledge of politics, fair enough.

Athaic: Ah ha, thank you for clarifying that.

When I said “politics” I was meaning “partisan” as in “partisan politics”. And I’ll stand by my position that infrastructure for the public good should not be subject to partisan politics (ie, I am against this waterworks/vaccine rule/etc because the sponsor of this bill belongs to a rival political party).

That “should” is an ideal, and often not how things get done, but is still what we should strive for as a species.

So thank you very much for helping me to clarify what I meant, which helps me understand what F68.10 meant and how they are different.

On that, I fully agree. Partisan politics is merely the illusion of democracy.

There is one inescapable fact of human society: Every society, EVERY society, will, if you take your defiance of the rules and authority far enough, will resort to the use of physical force to make you comply. What varies is the point at which force is applied, and the kind and degree of force used.
Even anarchist societies (which means without leaders, not chaos or free of rules) will at some point reach a consensus on forced obedience. Even libertarians, capital L and lower-case l, will agree on the necessity of forced compliance in some cases.
This cannot be avoided with the human beings of today. The only mitigation is to try to find a just balance between freedom and compulsion.

This is great to see. I do want to highlight that most people in the New York communities, too, have vaccinated – large numbers since the outbreak started. But a small minority holds on.

Blimi Marcus, who was featured on this blog before, does amazing work in educating people in her community.

We have a large Orthodox community where I live. It makes me wonder if a measles outbreak isn’t but a matter of time here. We had a mumps outbreak last year.

I was surprised to learn MMR didn’t become two shots until much later than I believed, and that I likely only have one MMR shot. My titers drawn in 1995 showed immunity, so hopefully I’m still immune now.

But what really shocked me was accounts I’ve been reading of older adults who were presumed immune coming down with measles. I can’t help but wonder if the assumption of immunity pre 1957 shouldn’t be revisited.

I recently asked my parents about their immunity to measles and my mom said she was sure she’s had the measles “and the red measles too!” But when I looked it up “red measles” is the same thing as regular measles, so I’m confused.

And as both my parents said, the people who would most reliably know if they’d had the measles, their own parents, are long dead.

Maybe I should suggest they get titered, just in case.

@JustaTech: Regular and German Measles (Rubella)? The latter’s rash is apparently less red.

My problem is that I was actually born in 1957. So I don’t know. I have an extensive Dept. of Defense shot record due to being an Army brat (I got a yellow fever vaccine twice!). But no record of a measles vaccine. I just have a vague memory of being five, lots of tents and getting a shot that freaked me out and I ran out screaming.

Then a few years later when I was eight years old I went to bed and did not get up two weeks. My long hair was a knot on the back of my head. The only person who knows was my mother, and she died three years later. My older brother only remembers that I was very sick, my parents were worried, and they thought it was the influenza. And this was before the 1968 Hong Kong Flu.

Sometimes I think I got one of the ineffective measles vaccines in 1963, and what I got in 1966/7 was an atypical measles where there was no rash. Which reset my immune system (Mina paper) so I got mumps a second time in 1968. Which really baffled my mother.

Or it was a nasty flu or other nasty random infection. And I got mumps again because there was a mumps epidemic in 1968 that overwhelmed what immunity I had to it. Apparently it did that, which is why a third MMR vaccine is used during a mumps outbreak in schools with close quarters.

Still, when we went to California just after the Disney measles outbreak, I just went to the pharmacy and got an MMR vaccine. That is a very teeny tiny needle. No side effects, other than I could enjoy my Napa Valley wine tour without worries. Okay, it also included a tour with a non-drinking guide.

We have a large Orthodox community where I live.

Please bear in mind that orthodox is not synonymous with the Haredim who are pulling this stunt. Hell, the Haredim are not synonymous with the Haredim who’ve pulled this stunt.

Why is there an assumption of immunity pre-1957? (Also, what does that mean – people born before 1957?). The CDC website says that measles vaccination began in 1963.

Another question – I had measles as a child (I don’t remember exactly when, except that I was home in bed for two weeks). Do I need to get vaccinated? Does immunity from having had measles wear off?

And – what is a titer?

Thank you to those who are more knowledgeable!

Why is there an assumption of immunity pre-1957?…The CDC website says that measles vaccination began in 1963.

I will try to answer this paragraph as well as I can.
“Assumption of immunity” in this context means that a cohort is assumed to be immune to measles. The reason for this is, before mass vaccination, almost everyone caught measles and as such, people born before 1957 are assumed to be immune to measles.
The reason for the gap (1957 to 1963) is because if you were born in these intermediate years, you wouldn’t have been vaccinated but herd immunity from the vaccines means there was a good chance you avoided getting measles, and as such you might not be immune.
I hope this helps.

We French have the same recommendations – likely immune before such date, likely in need of vaccination after it – except that the threshold is set around 1980, when the measles vaccine was entered on the French schedule.

If you had natural measles as a child then you have life-time immunity. You DON’T need to be vaccinated. Except for the 7 – 10 days of high fevers, anoxeria (loss of appetite), and intense itching, if that’s all you went through, you were one of the lucky ones. Prior to the vaccine, 50,000 kids were hospitalized each year, about 500 died, 500 developed life-time disabilities (deafness, blindness, mental retardation), and a dozen or so died 7 – 10 years later from subacute sclerotic panencephalitis (a massive inflammation of the brain). And your immune system was suppressed for up to several years making you susceptible to other potentially harmful microbes.

A titer is a lab analyses of blood to find if one has memory cell antibodies and/or T-cells to a particular disease.

And – what is a titer?

It’s a measure of one’s antibodies to whatever, including self.

Having measles as a child (like I did) is supposed to eliminate the chance of contracting it again, or at least make it unbelievably unlikely to happen.

There shouldn’t be any need for someone who had measles to be vaccinated against it.

Thanks to you and others above for the clarification. One more question though: Are there really more than one type of measles. According to my mother, I had “German” measles and “red” measles. Is this a real thing? I ask because my mother is not well educated and prone to all sorts of “theories”.

German measles is more accurately known as Rubella, and it’s the ‘R’ in the ‘MMR’ vaccine. Since the rash from Rubella looks similar to measles but is usually less red, that would explain the ‘German measles’ and ‘red measles’ description. They’re two different diseases, and Rubella is usually less infectious and less dangerous (unless a woman is pregnant).

Yes, there are two types of measles: Measles (Rubeola) and German Measles (Rubella). The first has higher risks in general; but the latter is extremely dangerous for pregnant women, can lead to birth defects, miscarriages, and even Autism-like children.

I fall squarely in the middle of the age group (1957-63) that may not have been vaccinated. Parents are no longer around to ask. I might have been exposed to measles by a sibling but was too young to remember.
I also have a trip to Israel approaching, so this morning I stopped at a nearby pharmacy and got an MMR shot.
Other than satisfying my curiousity about whether I was protected, I figure that getting my titers checked would be pointless. Getting the vaccine was convenient, completely covered by insurance and relatively painless (its just a subcutaneous injection with a very small syringe.
Getting titers means making a doctor’s appointment, copays and a blood draw that is likely to be more painful. I wonder if the risk from the blood draw is actually greater than that from the vaccine?

I was also surprised how teeny tiny the needle was! Look above, I to mine a few years for a trip to California just after the Disney outbreak.

On the CDC website they advise that the vaccine is as cheap or cheaper than a titer, and there’s no downside to getting the extra shot. I’m looking into it–I’m not sure if I now qualify as high risk because there was someone walking around my neighborhood with measles.

Are you saying they are not in the vaccines? I asked do you think they are in the vaccines? The CDC says they contain the things listed in the PDF.

Let me quote from our article: The evidence of aluminum and AD is mixed, without a clear direction. At present the best answer we have is that aluminum probably does not cause AD but appears to be playing some role, perhaps influencing severity. But even after 42 years, there remains a question mark next to these conclusions. We can rule out that aluminum is the single cause of AD, but whether or not it is an independent risk factor is a qualified “probably not.”

So we are guessing based on personal opinion. Best guess?? Probably DOES NOT, WTF does that mean? anyway, aluminum in this pdf 25times or more. That is just what is listed. We can’t tell whats in some of the secret sauces here listed under brand names.

But please, this forum just shows how easy it is to mislead both ways.

How about a multi-national study on accumulative effects of aluminum in the brain from all the vaccines and shots? 50+ are now recommended for children being born today.

Your going to want to risk your kids brain to best guess causation. Having worked in an aluminum foundry for several years, I can tell you that your agencies are not telling you the truth about this non stable metal. They are also shutting down any dissenting opinions after they use scare tactics like the picture above on this article.

Amazon has banned most books now on the subject, modern book burning. But please feel free being led down the path of no choice in the matter because someone in a lab coat told you so with words that literally make no sense, as in the quote above.

America, home of the not so free, because someone scared me with a picture of a disease I’ve never before seen.

How about a multi-national study on accumulative effects of aluminum in the brain from all the vaccines and shots?

The study subjects might object to having their brains removed. I now understand that this is not a universal sentiment.

The poison is in the dose. So with the very small amounts present in vaccines, there is nothing wrong. Something that can also be found in the link doritmi provided.

Just a small reminder, for years cigarettes and lead were also good for you. Many of the same organizations and certainly the paid media were all on board.

What if there is 0 safe level of this non stable metal in your brain?? Did you look at the other items on the list DTaP? Some of the additives have less then 1ppm for damage to brain. Anyway food for thought on the subject.

In America your choice for freedom should always be there, removing religious convictions, is this a good idea?

Especially with your own health or that of your kids, think about that, once you give government the “you must take your shots or lose your kids”.. Whats the next step, what if TRUMP goes crazy tomorrow and exec actions you must have 2cc of mercury in all shots? Crazy? Who knows what might be coming down the pipe.

We are giving government power where it should have NONE.

Remember any state power will always be used against you at some point. Its just a bad plan IMO.

“What if…”

What if pigs could fly?

“non stable metal”


“take your shots or lose your kids”

No problem. I’m sure they’re right next to my car keys.

“what if TRUMP goes crazy”

How could we tell?

“any state power will always be used against you at some point”

ICBM incoming!

It is known for a very long time smoking is bad for your health, even when the manufacturers still pretended they weren’t. With vaccine-ingredients it has been proven they are not harmfull in the minuscule amounts they are present in vaccines.

Go and try to live in a country where the state has no power at all, like for instance Libia, Somali and I’m sure there are more so called failed states, where the state has hardly any power and isn’t even able to protect its citizens.

Just a small reminder, for years cigarettes and lead were also good for you.

The addition of lead to this hoary trope is a new, if disconsonant, fillip in my book.

Especially with your own health or that of your kids, think about that, once you give government the “you must take your shots or lose your kids”.. Whats the next step

Figuring out where to store them?

Did anyone say lead was “good for you”? I thought the claim was that lead wasn’t bad for you, not that it was good for you.

And I thought tobacco consumption was generally hotly debated until the epidemiological data was collected and the dangers clearly identified.

Kan, what’s scarier: aluminum, or tetanus toxin? Aluminum or diphtheria toxin?
More to the point: which has a higher LD50? (Lethal dose for 50% of study subjects)

And I thought tobacco consumption was generally hotly debated until the epidemiological data was collected and the dangers clearly identified.

Something something N-zis something (paywalled, but I thought this was well known). I feel obliged to note ORD’s comment below from the 24th, about the 1920s, but I thought the Lebensrefom and what followed were the locus classicus.

anyway, aluminum in this pdf 25times or more.

I have no idea why Kan is suddenly on about some PDF.

I can tell you that your agencies are not telling you the truth about this non stable metal.

I can tell you that aluminium is a stable metal. It is not radioactive.

I can tell you that aluminium is a stable metal. It is not radioactive.

Has Spike Lee carried on the manganese routine now that Dick Gregory is lost?

I seem to recall, but cannot remember the source, that biostatisticians made a case for tobacco causing lung cancer as far back as the 1920s.

“Did anyone say lead was “good for you”?”

The A.M.A. used to run radio and TV ads urging parents to make sure their children got the recommended daily dose of lead and mercury. I think I read it on Mercola, or maybe it was Health Nut News.

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