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Travellers Beware: Measles outbreak prompts NYC emergency

10 April 2019

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order amid what he said was a measles "crisis" in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people, mostly members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious community, have gotten measles since September.

This comes after the city threatened to shut down religious schools and day care services in the community that allowed unvaccinated children in. "Vaccinate." De Blasio said the outbreak "can be turned around quickly" if residents act quickly. While there have been no confirmed deaths so far, 21 people have been hospitalized, with five admitted to intensive care, officials said.

The study was a follow-up of an earlier large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 that also involved Danish children and also concluded that there "was no association between the age at the time of vaccination, the time since vaccination, or the date of vaccination and the development of autistic disorder".

"Our goal is not to fine people or shut down schools", de Blasio said.

The declaration requires all unvaccinated people in those areas who may have been exposed to the virus to get the vaccine, including children over 6 months old.

To date, 285 cases have been confirmed since the beginning of the outbreak in October, with numerous new cases being confirmed in the last two months. They have been spreading unsafe misinformation based on fake science.

NY has contended with measles outbreaks and the legal challenges that have arisen in efforts to contain them.

Outbreaks of the measles - a disease thought to be all but eliminated in the USA - have health officials concerned.

"However, we worked very hard, as the health department told us, and those children were excluded", he said. City health officials said Monday that yeshivas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that do not comply will face fines and possible closure.

Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, the health commissioner there, said that since October she has been waging an uphill fight to persuade people vaccines are safe and necessary to protect the larger community.

She also urged parents to avoid the practice of "measles parties", which she said has contributed to the outbreak.

The emergency order came as the city, a suburban ny county and some other parts of the nation grapple with a spurt in a disease the USA declared eradicated nearly two decades ago. "All rabbis, all prominent rabbis have issued proclamations that everyone should vaccinate".

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

Rockland County, north of the city, has already faced legal action over its efforts to contain measles: an emergency order that would ban children from public places unless they've been immunized. "Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective".

De Blasio said the number of confirmed cases in Williamsburg has ballooned since Purim and that there are concerns that the disease will continue to spread as families come together to celebrate Passover.