Health Care

Mayor Declares 'Health Emergency' as Measles Outbreak Hits Brooklyn — DE BLASIO'S NYC

Mayor Declares 'Health Emergency' as Measles Outbreak Hits Brooklyn — DE BLASIO'S NYC

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency Tuesday, April 9, in select zip codes in Williamsburg, following a measles outbreak affecting the Orthodox Jewish community.

The order applies to anyone living, working or going to school in areas under four postcodes in the neighbourhood and requires all unvaccinated people at risk of exposure to the virus to get the vaccine, including children over six months old. "We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk".

"We will consider [forcible vaccinations] on a case-by-case basis", said mayoral spokeswoman Marcy Miranda, adding that the drastic measure is "not our first choice".

"We are absolutely certain we have the power to do this", de Blasio said, regarding the city's legal authority to carry out its order to vaccinate residents.

At last count, there have been 285 diagnosed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens, primarily among the Orthodox Jewish community. He also said residents should call 311 to find out where they can get the vaccine.

According to New York City's Health Department, "five cases, including the initial case of measles, were acquired on a visit to Israel".

"The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective", the CDC said.

He also warned against "measles parties", where parents expose their children to the measles infection in a bid to give them immunity.

The resurgence of the once-eradicated, highly-contagious disease is linked to a growing anti-vaccine movement in richer nations - which the World Health Organisation has identified as a major global health threat.

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"There are many more individuals who are living with chronic diseases, who are surviving cancer, and so we don't want children or adults to be unnecessarily exposed to measles".

This follows an order in Rockland County that barred unvaccinated children from public spaces for 30 days.

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.

The declaration is the second made by a local government in New York State in response to the outbreak, following one issued by officials in nearby Rockland County this March.

New York's health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, signed on to the order, declaring a public health emergency. The order was temporarily halted by a judge last week.

The action was executed a day after the city health department requested yeshivas in Brooklyn to debar from classes all students who have not been vaccinated against measles or encounter infringements and probable shutdown. But you don't need to go as far as Madagascar - common tourist destinations like England, France, Italy and Greece had measles outbreaks previous year. He referred to the large number of cases as "measles-crisis", against the mandatory vaccination, but will help.

The CDC says there are now scattered cases in 19 states, including Washington, Arizona and Texas.

Most of the NY cases involved unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated in dividuals, according to de Blasio's office. The CDC recommends that children get two doses of MMR vaccine.

In the meantime, outbreaks like those in New York City continue to spread.