New York – The Brooklyn judges ruled on Thursday against a group of parents who challenged the recently imposed obligation to vaccinate against measles in New York, rejecting their claims that public health in the city exceeded their powers.
In a six-page decision passed several hours after hearing this, Judge Lawrence Knipel dismissed a petition of a parent seeking revocation of the vaccination order last week introduced to halt the worst epidemic of a measles that had hit the city since 1991 .
The judge stood on the side of municipal health officials who defended the line as a rare but necessary step to keep up the rise in contagious illness that has infected at least 329 people, most of whom are children from Orthodox Jewish Districts in Brooklyn.
The other 222 cases were diagnosed elsewhere in New York, mostly in the predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish Quarter of Rockland, northwest of Manhattan.
New York-based outbreaks are part of a wider recovery of measles across the country, and at least 555 cases have been confirmed in 20 states, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Health experts say the virus, which can cause serious complications and even death, spread mainly among children of school age whose parents refused to vaccinate. Most of them outline philosophical or religious reasons or point to concerns – which medical science reveals – that the vaccine against abdominal-mucus-rubella (MMR) could cause autism.
The judge dismissed the parent's claim that the vaccination order was overdone or forceful, noting that he did not require forcible vaccination against those who rejected him.
He also rejected petitions in a petition challenging the "clear and current danger" of the outbreak. "It is well known that the vaccination is taking off the fire," said the judge.
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The vaccine sequence, which is extended this week, requires residents of certain affected Brooklyn neighborhoods to get MMR vaccine unless they otherwise show immunity to measles or face a financial punishment.
A court dispute brought to Brooklyn's Supreme Court five people identified only as parents living in the affected settlements. Their identities were confidential to protect the privacy of their children, their lawyers said.
At Thursday's court, Knipel told the city that the city had exceeded its powers and that quarantining an infected one would be preferable.
Robert Krakow, a lawyer's lawyer, estimated that only 0,0006 percent of Brooklyn's and Queen's had measles. "It's not an epidemic," he said. "It's not an ebola, it's not a goddess."
Health officials say quarantine is ineffective because people who carry a virus can be infectious before the symptoms appear.
The judge noted 39 cases diagnosed in Michigan found in an individual traveling from the Williamsburg community in the Brooklyn outbreak. An increase in the number of measles occurred with an unvaccinated child who was infected with a visit to Israel, where a highly contagious virus is also born.
The number of measles in the world almost quadrupled in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 compared with the same period last year, the World Health Organization said this week.