New York declares measles emergency and orders immunization

A public health emergency has been declared in New York, as it addresses one of the largest measles outbreaks in decades, centered on the ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.

Unvaccinated people living in certain postcodes in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, will need to be vaccinated against measles, and those who do not comply will face violations and possibly fines, said Mayor Bill de Blasio. , The New York Times reported.

"This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very worrying and needs to be addressed immediately," he said at a press conference in Williamsburg.

"The measles vaccine is effective, safe, effective and proven," added de Blasio.

The largest metropolis in the country is only one of many cities struggling with the return of measles, often favored by the "anti-vaxxer" feeling that forces parents to give up the measles-mumps vaccine -RUBOLEOL (MMR).

Prohibition lifted

In the United States, there have been 465 cases of measles since the beginning of 2019, reported Monday the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States. The number of measles cases this year "is the second highest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was declared eliminated in 2000," according to the CDC.

The total of last year was 372 cases. The largest epidemic occurred in 2014, with 667 cases, CNN reported.

There have already been 285 cases of measles confirmed in New York since the start of the epidemic last fall, health officials said. Most stayed in Hassidic Jewish communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn.

Last December, New York City banned unvaccinated measles students from attending classes in ultra-Orthodox schools with some postal codes, but city officials admitted that the order was not effective.

Tuesday, de Blasio said that the city would go well, or even temporarily close the yeshivas who did not comply with the order, The temperature reported.

Neighboring Rockland County, New York, is also experiencing a measles outbreak. By the end of last week, there were at least 166 confirmed cases in this region.

On March 26, county officials issued a 30-day emergency order prohibiting unvaccinated children under age 18 from traveling to public places such as shopping malls, shops, restaurants, schools and places of worship.

However, this ban was overturned by a judge last Friday.

Very contagious

Dr. Robert Glatter is an emergency physician who works at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

He pointed out that measles can be very serious or even fatal in rare cases. And when parents choose not to vaccinate their children against this highly contagious disease, this can make all children more vulnerable, due to the general decline of what is called "herd immunity".

"Obtaining group immunity is the most effective way to reduce the risk to the general population when some people choose not to vaccinate," said Glatter. "This includes the high risk for young infants as well as those who are immunocompromised.The evidence suggests that collective immunity against measles only occurs when 90 to 95% of the entire population is immunized. "

Glatter also believes that deliberate misinformation about the "dangers" of vaccines, often spread via social media, feeds the anti-vaxxer movement. For this reason, "the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] recently sent letters to Google's CEOs, Facebook, to highlight the growing threat that online misinformation about vaccination poses for children's health, "said Glatter.

In the meantime, epidemics like those in New York continue to spread.

"Measles is a very contagious disease," said Glatter. "Immunocompromised people, as well as young children and non-immune pregnant women are at higher risk of serious complications.

Image credit: iStock

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