New York City threatens to close yeshivas over unvaccinated children

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New York City has declared a public health emergency over a measles outbreak centered in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and ordered mandatory vaccinations in the neighbourhood.

After almost 300 people were infected in Brooklyn, Bill de Blasio, New York's mayor, ordered unvaccinated individuals in certain postcodes to get their jabs or face a fine. Since then, however, there has been a steep increase in reported cases, with at least 465 incidents of measles reported in the USA since January 1.

The disease spreads easily and can be fatal.

At the conference, Health Commissioner Barbot said they had received reports of measles parties, events where parents intentionally expose their healthy children to a measles-infected person. Only 39 cases involve adults.

New York City's decision to threaten fines and legal citations against those who have not been vaccinated against measles could indirectly benefit New Jersey's immunization efforts, although experts here agreed such measures are not necessary to address the measles outbreak on this side of the Hudson River.

During the conference Barbot, a pediatrician, called out misinformation being spread by "antivaxxers", people who are against vaccinations for a variety of non-medical reasons.

At least, that seems to be the lesson learned by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

CT is taking a wait-and-see approach as its next door neighbor NY battles a measles outbreak by declaring a public health state of emergency.

City Hall declared a state of emergency Tuesday as it contends with a recent outbreak of measles centered in Brooklyn.

The order is signed to remain in effect until the next meeting of the New York City Board of Health on April 17 at which time "it may be continued or rescinded by the board".

The majority of religious leaders in Brooklyn's large Orthodox communities support vaccination efforts, said the city's health commissioner, Dr Oxiris Barbot, but rates have remained low in some areas because of resistance from some groups that believe the inoculations are risky. They have been spreading risky misinformation based on fake science.

World Health Organization said that immunization coverage of 95 percent amongst all children is needed for a community to be fully protected against measles.

The order concerns all people living or working in four zip codes of Williamsburg, northwest Brooklyn, where some residents oppose vaccines on religious grounds - although neither Jewish texts nor local Jewish authorities advise against vaccination. People who ignore the order could be fined $1,000. And when parents choose not to vaccinate their kids against this highly contagious disease, it can make all kids more vulnerable, due to an overall decline in what's known as "herd immunity". Initial figures for 2018 indicate further decrease with many children becoming susceptible to measles infection, as a result.

Earlier this week, the city ordered religious schools and day care programs serving the Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg to exclude unvaccinated students or risk being closed down. "Our public health system stands ready to help any New Yorker that needs the vaccine for themselves or their child".

"The combination of a large anti-vax movement. with a large outbreak has not happened in the way that its happening right now", said Palacio.

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