Measles Outbreak Is Spreading In New York

New York City Tackling Measles Outbreak

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an emergency order requiring city residents to get vaccinated in the wake of a new measles outbreak in the city and neighboring counties. This has caused city officials to clash with certain communities, such as the Hasidic Jewish community, who object to immunizations on religious grounds.

Mayor de Blasio pushed forward anyway, saying residents in certain vulnerable ZIP codes will be fined $1,000 if they refuse to get vaccinated against measles.

Other local governments have gone a step further, such as Rockland County, New York, which banned unvaccinated minors from entering public areas. Minors who were not old enough to receive the vaccine were exempt. Parents of unvaccinated children filed a lawsuit, saying the order was government overreach. On April 5th, a judge sided with the parents and struck down the order.

New York City has seen almost 300 cases of the measles in this latest outbreak of the highly contagious childhood disease. Most of the cases were concentrated in Hasidic Jewish communities. Mayor de Blasio’s office blamed “misinformation” about vaccines in the Hasidic community, such as debunked claims that vaccines cause autism, for the low vaccination rates.

Measles was declared “eradicated” in North America in 2002, but the growing anti-vaccination movement has led to several outbreaks in the United States in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most measles outbreaks in the U.S. occur when an unvaccinated person travels to a country where measles is still common, then returns carrying the highly contagious infection and spreads it to other unvaccinated individuals.

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