New York City declares health emergency over measles outbreak in Williamsburg

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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.

She also said she'd be willing to pay the $1,000 fine the city has threatened to impose on any Williamsburg residents who refuse to get vaccinated.

"There's no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving". "I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their MMR vaccines to protect their children, families and communities".

Officials say 285 cases of measles have been confirmed in New York City since the beginning of the outbreak in October.

The city also warned that yeshiva religious schools and day care programs serving the local Orthodox Jewish community would face penalties and possible closure if they continue to take in unvaccinated students. Since the start of the year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tallied 465 measles cases in 19 states.

"This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods".

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They will impose fines of up to $1,000 on those who have not received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and can not give other evidence of immunity, such as having previously had the measles. He was joined by city health officials who decried what they called "misinformation" spread by opponents of vaccines.

It is the first time New York City has ordered mandatory vaccinations in recent history, according to health officials. "We've seen a large increase in the number of people vaccinated in these neighborhoods, but as Passover approaches, we need to do all we can to ensure more people get the vaccine".

Officials from the Department of Health will check vaccination records of anyone who has been in contact with infected patients in certain parts of Brooklyn, officials said.

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.

Health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot blamed those against vaccines for causing the outbreak.

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

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