NYC Declares Public Health Emergency Over Measles

Leslie Hanson
April 9, 2019

New York City declared a public health emergency this Tuesday due to a measles outbreak that has hit the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg.

"People in violation of our order to get vaccinated against measles will get a violation and could be fined $1,000 per instance", NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Oxiris Barbot tweeted.

"There's no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving".

In February, the Health Department began recommending to medical providers that serve the Orthodox Jewish communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park to give an extra dose of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine to children between 6 months and 11 months old.

A total of 285 measles cases have been recorded in the city's Orthodox Jewish community since last October.

City health officials said Monday that yeshivas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that do not comply will face fines and possible closure.

As skepticism over vaccines has increased in recent years, the number of cases of preventable diseases has spiked accordingly. None proved fatal, but 21 patients required hospitalization and five were admitted to intensive care.

NY accounted for about two-thirds of all measles cases reported last week in the United States. Of those infected, 246 were children, NY health commissioner Oxiris Barbot said.

"This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods. They have been spreading risky misinformation based on fake science", he said in the news release. "We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk".

Experts insist vaccines are safe and necessary to protect the larger community from highly infectious diseases like measles, which can cause severe diarrhea, pneumonia and vision loss and can be fatal in some cases.

On Friday, a NY state judge lifted the state of emergency imposed by Rockland County that would have barred minors not vaccinated against the measles from public places.

A woman opposed to childhood vaccinations wears a "No Vax" sign on her backpack as she takes part in a demonstration after officials in Rockland County, a New York City suburb, banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces, in West Nyack, New York, U.S. March 28, 2019. It says the vaccine is 97 percent effective.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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