Measles symptoms and where to get MMR vaccine

Desiree Burns
April 11, 2019

New York City took the extraordinary step of ordering mandatory vaccinations on Tuesday as it declared a public health emergency over a measles outbreak.

"We have also received reports that there are people attending so called measles parties bringing children together to purposely get exposed to measles".

"If people ignore our order", he added, "We will issue fines".

"Failure to comply with this Order is a violation of §3.05 of the New York City Health Code, and a misdemeanor for which you may be subject to civil and/or criminal fines, forfeitures and penalties, including imprisonment", said a warning at the bottom of the order.

Officials say 285 measles cases have been confirmed in NY since the beginning of the outbreak, the largest in the city since 1991.

Since the start of the year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tallied 465 measles cases in 19 states.

The order covers people who live in four ZIP codes of a Brooklyn neighborhood where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September.

Amid the crisis, the city has had to deal with another problem: People deliberately and voluntarily exposing their unvaccinated children to the (potentially deadly) disease. Most have been in Hasidic Jewish communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn.

The key to preventing measles outbreaks is adequate vaccination rates. None proved fatal, but 21 patients required hospitalisation and five were admitted to intensive care. The NYC DOH also confirmed two cases of measles in Flushing, Queens. "These resulting fines will be as much as $1,000 per person".

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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.

Measles has been a nationally notifiable disease in the United States since 1912.

There have been almost 300 confirmed measles cases in the city since the outbreak began last October, mainly in Orthodox Jewish communities in parts of Brooklyn, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

In the past decade, the Philippines had seen a decline in the first dose of measles vaccine, from above 80 percent in 2008 to below 70 percent in 2017.

NY accounted for about two-thirds of all measles cases reported last week in the United States.

In the city alone, 285 cases have been confirmed - 246 of which have been in children.

"As a pediatrician, I know the MMR vaccine is safe and effective".

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.

Neighborhood officials said the vast majority of Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg are vaccinated, but because the community is so tightly knit, just a small number of anti-vaxers is allowing this outbreak to grow.

"I would say that we're not as anxious about it because we have a highly-vaccinated population", said Mick Bolduc, an epidemiologist for the Connecticut DPH's immunization program.

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