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Measles is spreading, and the anti-vaccine movement is the cause

Diseases and IllnessesMedicineMeaslesU.S. Centers for Disease Control and PreventionKatie Couric

And now, New York City.

Measles is spreading in upper Manhattan and the Bronx, according to public health authorities in New York. About 16 cases have turned up, including two that involved contagion in doctors' offices. Outbreaks have also been reported in the Boston area, San Francisco and Los Angeles

Much of the current outbreak is traceable to the Philippines, where the disease is raging and easily spread to unvaccinated travelers. They come home to the U.S., where the virus is finding a surprising welcome. 

Health experts add these to the tally of the anti-vaccination movement, which is based almost entirely on a long since debunked and withdrawn paper published in Britain in 1998. The author of the paper has been stripped of his medical license because of the dishonesty of that paper; but its devastating effect on vaccination rates in Britain and the U.S. lives on.  Measles should have been all but eradicated in first-world countries by now; it's the shame of the anti-vaccination that the dangerous disease still spreads. 

During a similar outbreak last year, the national Centers for Disease Control concluded that 82% of the cases occurred in unvaccinated persons, and of those, 79% said they deliberately shunned vaccination on "philosophical" grounds. School and health authorities have become far too tolerant of such non-medical objections to the vaccine, and the toll is rising. 

We've been tracking the toll of the anti-vaccination movement for some time. See our posts here and here.

A backlash against anti-vaccination falsehoods is long overdue. The first signs of one emerged last week, when that noted scientific authority and spokesmodel Jenny McCarthy, who has been spreading anti-vaccination drivel for years, got wasted by the Internet community when she left herself open to a reaction. The details are here. Others who deserve blame for spreading disinformation and misrepresentations about vaccines include Katie Couric

Reach me at @hiltzikm on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or by email. MORE FROM MICHAEL HILTZIK

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