NYC declares health emergency over measles outbreak

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New York City declared a public health emergency Tuesday morning, ordering mandatory measles vaccinations for residents in parts of Williamsburg as the number of confirmed cases for the infection rose to 285 since September 30. The outbreak is primarily affecting the Orthodox Jewish community.

As part of the declaration, unvaccinated individuals living in those ZIP codes who may have been exposed to measles will be required to receive the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine in order to protect others in the community and help curtail the ongoing outbreak, said the Mayor's office.

"People in violation of our order to get vaccinated against measles will get a violation and could be fined $1,000 per instance", NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Oxiris Barbot tweeted. "They have been spreading risky misinformation based on fake science", Barbot said.

Last week, a judge ruled against an order in New York's Rockland County, temporarily halting an order from health officials there that barred unvaccinated children from public school.

"You get phony, phony articles and studies, so yes, some people will fall for that", he said.

In the city alone, 285 cases have been confirmed - 246 of which have been in children. The cases led to 21 hospitalizations, including five admissions to intensive care units. The Associated Press reports that this is the largest measles outbreak in the city since 1991, and that NYC accounts for two-thirds of all cases reported in the us last week.

A virus causes measles, which is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

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Parents of children older than six months must get them vaccinated or show proof of immunisation.

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.

Under the order, any person living in the affected areas who has not been vaccinated must be immunised within 48 hours.

The CDC recommends that all children get two doses of measles vaccine. "I know that getting vaccinated is far safer than getting measles".

The outbreak began when an unvaccinated child visited Israel, where thousands of people have been sick, contracted the disease, and came back to Brooklyn.

Earlier this week, the city ordered religious schools and daycare programmes serving that community to exclude unvaccinated students or risk being closed down.

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