How Measles Is Making a Return in New York and Elsewhere
New York City officials on Tuesday declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations to halt an outbreak concentrated among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, putting in place the broadest vaccination order in the United States in almost three decades.
The mayor's emergency declaration mandates that residents of four Williamsburg zip codes - 11205, 11206, 11211, and 11249 - must seek vaccination, or face Department of Health violations and fines totaling as much as $1,000 per unvaccinated person.
"We have a situation now where children are in danger. We have to take this seriously", he added. "We have to stop it now", De Blasio said on Tuesday in Brooklyn.
The bulk of the recent outbreaks - defined as three or more connected cases - occurred in our region, including 173 cases diagnosed this year in Rockland County, New York, where government officials have attempted to ban unvaccinated individuals from public spaces.
Of the 285 confirmed cases, 246 are children and 39 are adults.
The U.S.as a whole has fairly high vaccination rates against measles, and the vaccine is very effective at preventing the disease.
"We have also received reports that there are people attending so called measles parties bringing children together to purposely get exposed to measles". Much of the time, the patients were unvaccinated or not entirely vaccinated.
In an April 9 interview on WAMC with Alan Chartok, chief executive office of the Northeast Public Radio station, New York Governor Andrew Cumo said he thought the debate over parental rights to not vaccine their children against the right of the public to be protected would end up in the courts. Also each year, among reported cases, an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles. 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. That compares to 372 cases in the USA for all of previous year.
The measure comes a day after the city ordered Orthodox Jewish schools and day care programs in Williamsburg to exclude unvaccinated students from classes during the outbreak or risk being closed down.
New York's health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, signed on to the order, declaring a public health emergency.
A Williamsburg yeshiva that fell out of compliance in January is connected to more than 40 measles cases, ABC7 NY reported. The order was temporarily halted by a judge last week.
The CDC says there are now scattered cases in 19 states, including Washington, Arizona and Texas.
In the meantime, outbreaks like those in New York City continue to spread.
While wishing New Yorkers a good Passover, which begins next Friday, De Blasio also encouraged members of the city's Orthodox Jewish community to get vaccinated.
In the past decade, the Philippines had seen a decline in the first dose of measles vaccine, from above 80 percent in 2008 to below 70 percent in 2017.