New York City declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations amid an outbreak in Brooklyn, which has become the latest national flash point over refusals to inoculate against risky diseases.
Earlier this week, the city ordered religious schools and daycare programmes serving that community to exclude unvaccinated students or risk being closed down.
The mandated vaccinations aim to combat a measles outbreak that has affected more than 250 people in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood since September, reported The Associated Press. "There are nearly 300 cases already, overwhelmingly in Brooklyn", New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Tuesday. While there have been no confirmed deaths so far, 21 people have been taken to hospital, with five admitted to intensive care, officials said.
He said Rockland officials are crafting a new order created to isolate people exposed to measles.
According to media reports, people who have not received the MMR vaccine, or don't have evidence of immunity, and then refuse to be vaccinated could be fined $1,000.
The Health Department order also mandates that parents vaccinate children who are six months of age or older unless the parent or guardian can prove the child is immune to the disease or should be "medically exempt from this requirement". The Associated Press reports that this is the largest measles outbreak in the city since 1991, and that NYC accounts for two-thirds of all cases reported in the USA last week. "They have been spreading risky misinformation based on fake science", Dr. Barbot said in the statement.
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New York City declared a public health emergency this Tuesday due to a measles outbreak that has hit the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg.
The Brooklyn outbreak has been traced to an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, which is also grappling with an outbreak, according to New York City's Department of Health.
Another Jewish religious community, north of the city but with close ties to Brooklyn, has also seen a surge, with at least 166 cases since October.
Government pushes for inoculations and public space bans of unvaccinated children have prompted a backlash among anti-vaccination activists, whose misinformation campaigns have led to declines for vaccinations against one of the world's most contagious diseases.
Mainstream Jewish teaching does not prohibit vaccination, and most rabbis are encouraging parents to have their children immunized. "This is a public health emergency". "I've seen some mailings", Schlesinger said. It says the vaccine is 97 percent effective.
A total of 465 cases of measles have been confirmed in 19 states from January 1 to April 4.
Measles has been a nationally notifiable disease in the United States since 1912. New Yorkers should make sure they have been vaccinated with MMR vaccine before traveling to Europe or Israel.