NYC declares emergency over measles outbreak, mandates vaccinations

This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the US since measles was eliminated in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The mandated vaccinations aim to combat a measles outbreak that has affected more than 250 people in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood since September, reported The Associated Press. That includes more than 20 hospitalizations and a handful of admissions to intensive care units. All but 39 of the confirmed cases are in children.

Officials also noted that Passover is approaching, meaning increased travel among people who could carry measles to or from NY. Also each year, among reported cases, an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles.

Government pushes for inoculations and public space bans of unvaccinated children have prompted a backlash among anti-vaccination activists, whose misinformation campaigns have led to declines for vaccinations against one of the world's most contagious diseases.

The Brooklyn outbreak has been traced to an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, which is also grappling with an outbreak, according to New York City's Department of Health. He was joined by city health officials who decried what they called "misinformation" spread by opponents of vaccines.

"This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately", de Blasio said, who also assured the public that the vaccine "is safe". The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises children to get two doses of the 97 percent effective measles vaccine.


New York's mayor has declared a public health emergency following a measles outbreak.

News of the order got a mixed reaction in Williamsburg, with some residents - even those who support vaccination - saying they felt uncomfortable with the city pushing vaccines on people who don't want them.

"When people choose not to get their children vaccinated, they are putting their children and others - such as pregnant women, people on chemotherapy, and the elderly - at risk of contracting measles", Herminia Palacio, NYC's deputy mayor for health and human services, said in the release. "I urge everyone to get vaccinated".

Health officials made a specific point to condemn the resurgence of "measles parties", get-togethers where parents gather unvaccinated children with kids already suffering with measles in order to intentionally infect the group at a young age.

Earlier this week, the city ordered religious schools and daycare programmes serving that community to exclude unvaccinated students or risk being closed down.

  • Sylvester Abbott