Public Officials Take Action to Battle Measles

Ben Davidson
April 12, 2019

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

Since the Health Department issued its mandatory exclusion order in December, numerous schools violating the city's emergency mandate played host to mini outbreaks of the extremely virulent disease, including one Williamsburg yeshiva that inspectors have connected to more than 40 cases since January. e under 18 years old, according to Health Department statistics.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters: "I want everyone to understand how serious this is and how quickly it spreads".

For those who need help getting the vaccine, the city has said that it will offer assistance. Violators will face a $1,000 fine.

Since the measles outbreak began in October of a year ago, close to 300 people have been diagnosed with the highly contagious viral disease. Experts warn that a majority of these outbreaks are the result of unvaccinated people traveling from the United States to other parts of the world (including Europe, Israel, and the Philippines) where measles infections are more common. The mayor said the city would issue violations and possibly fines of $1,000 for those who did not comply.

Officials fear increased travel during Passover among people who could carry measles to or from NY. "The vaccine has been proven safe and effective in preventing the spread of measles for decades and we have evidence", Barbot tweeted. Similarly, tightly clustered religious communities, insulated from mainstream society, also tend to suffer higher flare-ups of the highly contagious virus because the group's level of immunity has fallen.

As part of the order, the parent or guardian of any unvaccinated child in the neighborhood can be liable to a fine of $1,000 per instance. While no one has died, a handful have been admitted to intensive care.

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

Health officials have largely blamed the outbreaks on small but vocal anti-vaccine advocates who scare well-meaning parents by spreading unsafe lies and misinformation about life-saving vaccines and their safety.

"We have a situation now where children are in danger".

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.

This follows an order in Rockland County that barred unvaccinated children from public spaces for 30 days. A court halted it last week, but County Executive Ed Day said Tuesday he planned to appeal. None of the other neighborhoods that have shown signs of the disease have had new cases so far this month. The reasons for the explosion of cases among members of insular, ultra-orthodox communities has more to do with their frequent contacts with Israel, which is undergoing its own measles crisis, combined with their insularity and general mistrust of government, say health officials.

So far, there have been 285 cases of measles in the outbreak, 246 of which were in children.

This is almost an eight-fold increase in measles cases reported since past year, with 18,407 cases in 2018 compared with 2,428 cases in 2017.

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