Measles outbreak in Orthodox community grows
by Benjamin Fang
Mar 05, 2019 | 2248 views | 0 0 comments | 135 135 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The measles outbreak in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community has reached 121 cases since October, the city’s Health Department announced last week.

According to officials, 108 of the 121 cases are children under the age of 18, while the other 13 cases are adults.

There have been no deaths from the outbreak. However, there have been eight hospitalizations, including one child who ended up in the intensive care unit.

Health department officials identified 31 new cases, including five diagnoses in the past week. The other 26 were identified retrospectively. Most cases were reported in Borough Park and Williamsburg.

Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a statement that measles is a highly contagious and potentially deadly infection. She stressed the importance of vaccination.

“Complications and fatalities are rare but do happen,” she said. “I urge parents not to take any risks that may jeopardize their children or other children in their community.”

Since the outbreak began in October, health officials have worked with community groups and religious leaders to conduct community outreach, resulting in over 7,000 people receiving the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.

According to health officials, 21 of the 31 new cases were connected to a single yeshiva in Williamsburg. That yeshiva “went out of compliance” and allowed an unvaccinated student who had measles to attend school.

Two weeks ago, the department recommended an early, extra dose of the MMR vaccine for children between six and 11 months old who live in Williamsburg or Borough Park.

“It says in the Torah ‘V’nishmartem Meod L’nafshoseichem,’ that a person must guard their health,” said Rabbi David Niederman, president of the UJO of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn. “It is abundantly clear on the necessity for parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated, especially from measles.”
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