New York mandates vaccine to contain Brooklyn measles outbreak

Materials are seen left at demonstration by people opposed to childhood vaccination after officials in Rockland County

Materials are seen left at demonstration by people opposed to childhood vaccination after officials in Rockland County

The New York City Department of Health has threatened to fine or even close United States yeshivas in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn if students who are not vaccinated against measles are allowed to attend classes.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says measles is a unsafe and potentially deadly illness, that can easily be prevented with a vaccine.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.

The measles outbreak has sickened 285 people in the city since October, and the rate of infection has increased over the last two months, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a Tuesday news conference.

The order, which applies to anyone who lives, works or goes to school in four ZIP codes in the neighborhood, comes just as federal health officials announced measles cases have spiked once more nationwide. Violators could face a fine of $1,000, officials said. Michigan's current measles outbreak dates back to March 13, when the health department reported that the first case came from someone "visiting from Israel following a stay in NY".

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 CDC reported this week that 465 cases have been confirmed in 19 states in 2019, the second-highest total since measles was declared eliminated.

"Today we are declaring a public health emergency effective immediately". None proved fatal, but 21 patients required hospitalization and five were admitted to intensive care. Of those infected, 246 were children, NY health commissioner Oxiris Barbot said.

The vaccination mandate would remain in place until the New York City Board of Health's next meeting on April 17 when officials will determine whether or not to continue the order, Barbot said in the release.

"When people choose not to get their children vaccinated, they are putting their children and others - such as pregnant women, people on chemotherapy, and the elderly - at risk of contracting measles".

Complications from measles include bronchitis, pneumonia, encephalitis and serious pregnancy problems. Most of the children were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

Video: Despite evidence that vaccines are safe and effective, the anti-vaccination movement is gaining strength. "I urge everyone to get vaccinated".

Schlesinger is trying to reverse false information being spread about the measles vaccine through the Orthodox community.

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

Like most American states - all but three, including California - New York requires a series of vaccinations for school-age children but has until now granted exemptions on both medical and religious grounds.

City officials warned parents are holding 'measles parties, ' where they intentionally expose their unvaccinated children to an infected child in the mistaken belief that doing so is a safe way to create immunity.