A measles outbreak in New York City is the work of a small but dangerous group of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, doctors say.
Health officials have identified three new cases of measles in recent days, with the outbreak centered in northern Manhattan. They believe two cases were transmitted in a doctor's office,
"One can understand how that happened, but that's exactly why we're trying to minimize the opportunity for future exposure," said Dr. Jane Zucker of the New York City Health Department.
Measles is a contagious virus that begins with a rash on the face and moves down the body, including the palms and soles of the feet. The viral infection is contagious for up to four days before symptoms emerge, and can spread through the air to unprotected individuals. The initial infection can lead to complications including pneumonia, miscarriage, and even death.
Some health officials are pointing the finger at the anti-vaccination movement, a group that believes these vaccinations are dangerous for children. This group has led to outbreaks in the past before, including a measles cluster in Texas an an outbreak in Texas.
"This is sheer lunacy," wrote doctor Russell Saunders in The Daily Beast. "Just over a dozen years ago this illness was considered eliminated in our country, and this year people are being hospitalized for it. All due to the hysteria about a safe, effective vaccine. All based on nothing."
Saunders pointed to a controversial study that linked autism to vaccinations, one that remains a main point for many in the anti-vaccination movement despite being thoroughly debunked.
The New York City measles outbreak is prompted the city's department of health to ask pediatric care facilities in Manhattan and the Bronx to identify and vaccinate children who have not received the MMR vaccine.