New York City Declares Health Emergency As Measles Outbreak Continues

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The city has ceaselessly worked over the past year to raise awareness about Measles vaccinations.

Health officials say cases have been confirmed in Westchester and Sullivan Counties following the spike in infections in Rockland County and the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Epidemiologists have chronicled how worldwide travel by Orthodox Jews to outbreak areas, closely interrelated Orthodox social networks, and high numbers of Orthodox children at ages most susceptible to a highly contagious disease are key factors in the spread of diseases of this kind (see here and here).

Yet today, communities in NY and Washington state are experiencing devastating outbreaks today. The virus spread from there. Coffey said that a Google search of the MMR vaccine can lead to YouTube videos of deadly aftermaths of vaccines that are purely inaccurate. There are reports of handbooks targeting the Orthodox community, arguing vaccines are not kosher or misrepresenting the danger of measles.

The mayor said an estimated 1,800 children in the neighborhood are still unvaccinated, so it was "time to take a more muscular approach", he said.

It can lead to death, brain swelling and pneumonia. The WHO says there's been a 30 % increase in measles cases in recent years. His father has a doctor's office in the area.

"People who are unvaccinated for any reason, including those who refuse vaccination, risk getting infected with measles and spreading it to others", the CDC reports in a frequently asked questions article.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said: "We are declaring a public health emergency in Williamsburg due to the 300 cases of measles reported in our city - primarily concentrated in Brooklyn". In issuing the order, the health department said that any yeshiva in Williamsburg that does not comply will face fines and possible closure.

For more information, call the NYS Measles Hotline at 1-888-364-4837.

"As a society we've said we'll allow a little bit of flexibility in our laws in order to give people a wider berth to exercise their personal beliefs", Indiana University public health law professor Ross D. Silverman recently told Wired magazine.

However some locals, like Miriam, 66, are anxious about how the outbreak may affect their family members.

"When individuals are not vaccinated, there is a high likelihood of catching the disease", Sheffield said. Her son's mother-in-law has measles, she said, and is now in the hospital.

"I'm concerned but I'm not at a point of crisis mobilization", Latimer said. People can spread measles before they even know they are sick. "I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their MMR vaccines to protect their children, families and communities". And, if that's not enough of a reason to be vaccinated, she said, the public cost of tracking cases and quarantining their contacts with exposure to the disease can be extraordinary. As a result, it has been too easy for misinformation about vaccines to take root and spread, because parents have the luxury of fearing the vaccines instead of the diseases.

At least 90 percent of the public should be vaccinated to properly protect the community at large, he said. She suggested that maybe parents should be compelled to homeschool their children, emphasizing the risk to the community. They actually do know how to work with people.

As anti-vaccination movements continue to rise, Coffey explained that the widespread opposition to vaccination is mainly based in false news about side effects.

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