NYC health officials warn against 'measles parties' amid biggest outbreak in decades

Phillip Cunningham
April 12, 2019

New York City is facing the largest measles outbreak since 1991.

Officials said they would help people arrange to get shots but were prepared to fine them as much as $1,000 if they refused. All residents living in zip codes 11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249 are required to be vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, or could face up to a $1,000 fine. "I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their [mumps-measles-rubella] vaccines to protect their children, families and communities". The disease can be prevented through vaccination.

The order comes a day after the city announced that yeshivas in parts of Brooklyn that allow unvaccinated children to attend school could face fines or potential school closures - and just a few days after a judge halted a similar emergency order in New York's Rockland County. "The only way to stop this outbreak is to ensure that people who have not been vaccinated get the vaccine".

"To challenge the unsafe misinformation that is being spread by a group of anti-vaxxers, it's crucial that everyone around them be vaccinated to shield them from infection", Barbot said.

"So there's no financial reason not to get this vaccine and there's plenty of locations that will be available, it should not be hard for people to get what they need to protect themselves and to protect their children", said the mayor.

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.

By far most of the city's cases are kids under 18 years age.

The agency said it "continues to be seriously concerned about the accelerating numbers of measles cases being confirmed nationally". There have been no deaths associated with this outbreak, although there have been complications, including 21 hospitalizations and five admissions to the intensive care unit.

Spread through coughs and sneezes, measles is highly contagious and can cause serious health problems, including pneumonia and brain swelling that can lead to seizures, deafness or intellectual disability.

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

The measles virus is more severe in infants, pregnant women and anyone with a weaker immune system.

The mandate orders all unvaccinated people in four zip codes to receive inoculations, including children as young as 6 months old. New Yorkers should call 311 to access a list of facilities that can provide MMR at low or no cost.

World Health Organization estimates that around 2.6 million Filipino children under the age of 5 are not protected from measles, and the country will continue to have periodic measles outbreaks as long as the routine immunization remains low. "Specifically, for the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccines which are now in use, we ensured that all doses planned have been procured, despite inflation of vaccine costs". Infants ages 6 to 11 months should also be vaccinated prior to worldwide travel.

In a statement by the city's health department, Brooklyn Rabbi David Niederman said, "It says in the Torah "V'nishmartem Meod L'nafshoseichem"-a person must guard their health".

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