DISEASED CHILDREN! Measles Return to America
New York City’s Health Department is warning of an outbreak of measles in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community and calling on parents to have their children vaccinated.
The department said Friday that there are 11 new cases of measles in the Orthodox enclave, bringing the number of children who have been recently diagnosed with measles in Williamsburg and Borough Park to 17.
Some of the infected children, who range in age from 7 months to 4 years, have experienced complications including hospitalizations, but there have been no deaths. Three of the children were infected on a visit to Israel, where there is a large outbreak of the disease, the department stated.
As of Sunday, Israel’s Ministry of Health counted 1,334 measles patients, including a toddler who died from the illness last week. The ministry believes that the disease was imported by tourists and visitors who infected an unvaccinated population, largely among the nation’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.
The country’s health ministry launched a campaign to promote vaccination and said it would ban unvaccinated visitors from some hospital wards, the Times of Israel reported. More than 750 measles cases had been reported in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox communities, where the rate of immunization was only around 50 percent.
“As Israel and other nations are facing outbreaks, the risk of measles affecting our New York communities is particularly acute in neighborhoods where international travel is common and frequent. I strongly urge all parents across the city to ensure their children are up to date on all AMA recommended vaccinations, including for the flu, as we enter the winter months.”
The health department said that while no deaths had been reported yet, a number of children had been hospitalized as a result of complications from measles. People living in Williamsburg and Borough Park were affected, with cases being reported in children between 7 months and 4 years of age.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted by sneezing and coughing as well as direct contact with an infected person, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include fever and rash, usually lasting several days. Infected people are contagious from four days before through four days after the rash appears. Young children and pregnant women are among those at highest risk for severe complications, which can lead to death.
For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it, according to the CDC.
In Brooklyn, most of the children probably acquired the infection in school, where measles spread among the unvaccinated or students who are not fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Health.
Vaccination rates among New York’s Orthodox Jewish communities are low. Research showed that an outbreak in 2013, the biggest since 1992, was the result of children not being vaccinated, either due to flat-out refusal or delay. The reasons behind the low vaccination rates were not clear.
Rabbi David Niederman, president of the UJO (United Jewish Organizations) of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, said, “It says in the Torah “V’nishmartem Meod L’nafshoseichem” that a person must guard their health. It is abundantly clear on the necessity for parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated, especially from measles. Thankfully, close to everyone in the community understands and takes very seriously their vaccination obligations. The current outbreak is a risk to the health of the children in our community, and it is incumbent for everyone to have their children vaccinated.”
When a large percentage of the population is vaccinated, “herd immunity” will protect against the spread of disease among the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, including babies. The CDC recommends the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine for all children at age 12 months, with a second dose at 4 to 6 years old. Parents should keep sick children at home.
Everyone, including infants 6 to 11 months old, should be vaccinated before international travel.
Check out our sources below: