Health Care

New York City declares health emergency over measles outbreak in Williamsburg

New York City declares health emergency over measles outbreak in Williamsburg”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn on Tuesday, ordering all residents to be vaccinated to contain a measles outbreak concentrated in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

There have been 285 reported cases of measles in Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community since October, 246 of which are children, CBS New York reported Monday, citing the health department.

The city's health commissioner, Dr Oxiris Barbot, said that the majority of religious leaders in Brooklyn's large Orthodox communities support vaccination efforts, but that rates have remained low in some areas because of resistance from some groups that believe the inoculations are risky.

It covers people who live in four ZIP codes in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September.

"To challenge the unsafe misinformation that is being spread by a group of anti-vaxxers, it's crucial that everyone around them be vaccinated to shield them from infection", Barbot said. Most of these measles cases were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals. Refusing to vaccinate could come with a $1,000 fine.

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"This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately", de Blasio. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 465 measles cases have been reported so far this year, up from 387 the week before.

"We have a situation now where children are in danger".

The order also applies the same stipulations to the parents or guardian of any unvaccinated child older than six months of age in terms of having the child immunized. Others remain convinced, against expert assurances, that vaccines are unsafe.

A growing and vocal fringe of parents oppose vaccinations, believing, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in the vaccines can cause autism or other disorders.

"It is crucial for people to understand that [the] measles vaccine works, it is safe, it is effective, it is time-tested", said Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

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In an April 9 interview on WAMC with Alan Chartok, chief executive office of the Northeast Public Radio station, New York Governor Andrew Cumo said he thought the debate over parental rights to not vaccine their children against the right of the public to be protected would end up in the courts.

Under the order, any person living in the affected areas who has not been vaccinated must be immunised within 48 hours.

This comes after the city threatened to shut down religious schools and day care services in the community that allowed unvaccinated children in.

The CDC recommends that all children get two doses of measles vaccine.

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