NY orders mandatory measles vaccinations, blasts misinformation fuelling outbreak

Measles outbreak: NYC threatens fines for unvaccinated Williamsburg residents

In declaring a public health emergency, Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot said the number of cases diagnosed within certain zip codes of Williamsburg "continues to grow as new cases are still occurring" and that he deemed this to be an "existing threat to public health in the City of NY".

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.

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

The Brooklyn outbreak has been tied to an unvaccinated child who contracted the disease during a trip to Israel, which has recently seen a high incidence of measles, the Washington Post reported.

"Young children and people who have weakened immune systems can not get vaccinated, so it's crucial that everyone around them be vaccinated in order to shield them from the infection". Most of these measles cases were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals.

"As a pediatrician, I know the MMR vaccine is safe and effective". 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.

Officials blamed the outbreak on so-called anti-vaxxers who have spread false information.

Officials also noted that Passover is approaching, meaning increased travel among people who could carry measles to or from NY.

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"We are concerned about families having measles parties", New York City Health Commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot said at a news conference, as reported by Fox News. Five of 21 hospitalized cases have been admitted to the intensive care unit, she added. All but 39 of the confirmed cases are in children. They blamed the spike partly on anti-vaccine campaigns spreading misinformation that immunizations are unsafe.

The city threatened to close Orthodox Jewish schools in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Borough Park, where many parents have refused or neglected to vaccinate their children.

The highly contagious airborne pathogen produces symptoms including fever, cough, and a runny nose, and can cause diarrhea, ear infection, pneumonia, encephalitis, and death - with about 1 of every 1,367 kids infected dying due to fatal complications from measles.

The best protection from measles is to have two MMR vaccinations. "We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk".

Unvaccinated residents living in the ZIP codes 11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249 are required to receive the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine to stymie the outbreak.

New York's mandate comes as health officials have scrambled to blunt the spread of measles.

"It's true that a lot of people have measles and measles are not a very good thing, but I think the vaccine also not a very good thing", said Aron Braver, a neighbourhood resident.

The United States declared measles eliminated from the country in 2000 thanks to widespread vaccination, meaning it is no longer constantly present. Once people have become infected by measles, their bodies build up their immune systems to prevent new inflections. Infants ages 6 to 11 months should also be vaccinated prior to worldwide travel.

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