Measles Outbreak Spreads In Brooklyn Orthodox Community

Desiree Burns
October 20, 2018

The New York City Health Department (NYCHD) says that the Brooklyn cases also began after a child returned from a trip to Israel. With the current outbreak, doctors in some areas have been vaccinating children as young as six months old to prevent the spread of measles which is highly contagious and can cause severe complications, including death.

"The initial case of measles was acquired by a child on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring", the Health Department said in a statement, according to radio station 1010 WINS.

The Williamsburg cases are all in children ranging from 11 months to four years old while the Rockland County cases are in both children and adults. One of the children was hospitalized with pneumonia and another child developed an ear infection.

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Commissioner of Health, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert recommends that residents make sure they and their families are up-to-date on their measles vaccinations, "As we see more cases there is the potential for further exposure. If your child develops a fever and rash, contact their health care provider and keep your children home from school or daycare".

When someone with measles coughs, sneezes or talks, infected droplets are sprayed into the air, where other people can inhale them and are then infected.

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Once common, the disease is now rare due to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

The vaccine was introduced in 1963, and measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000.

Overseas, a Jerusalem outbreak of the measles has health officials extremely anxious, with 213 cases reported in September, more than half the total number of cases reported in 2018.

John Lyon, director of strategic communications for Rockland County executive Ed Day, said that 11 cases, five primary and six secondary, have been confirmed as of today, with three more suspected at this time. People who are unvaccinated risk getting infected with measles and spreading it to others, and they may spread measles to people who can not get vaccinated because they are too young or have specific health conditions, the Health Department said. Another child had received the first dose of the vaccine, but not the second.

He suggests that those who refuse to comply and thereby spread vaccine-preventable diseases should bear financial responsibility for the consequences of their choices.

"These policies facilitate the emergence of clusters of unvaccinated individuals and the corresponding increase in the likelihood of disease outbreaks in those communities", Schwartz writes. "These fees would directly support vaccination activities such as educational efforts, information systems, and outbreak response", he writes.

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