DE BLASIO'S NYC: Mayor Declares 'Health Emergency' as Measles Outbreak Hits Brooklyn

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New York City officials on Tuesday ordered residents at the center of an ongoing measles outbreak to get vaccinated or face fines up to $1,000, in the latest dramatic move by officials attempting to stop measles outbreaks that are spreading across the country.

Rockland County, located near New York City, has also declared a 30-day public health emergency over a measles outbreak there that has seen 168 people contract the disease, according to the CDC. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 465 measles cases have been reported so far this year, up from 387 the week before. He referred to the large number of cases as "measles-crisis", against the mandatory vaccination, but will help. Under New York City law, violating this order would instead incur a maximum $1,400 fine.

Last year, 372 cases were reported the entire year-and these were contained to only three metropolitan areas: New York, New York City, and New Jersey. There have been no deaths associated with this outbreak, although there have been complications, including 21 hospitalizations and five admissions to the intensive care unit.

This is the largest outbreak in the city in almost three decades.

"This is the epicentre of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately", the mayor said at a press conference in Williamsburg announcing the order. "The vaccine has been proven safe and effective in preventing the spread of measles for decades and we have evidence", Barbot tweeted. "The faster everyone heeds the order, the faster we can lift it".

The Health Department order also mandates that parents vaccinate children who are six months of age or older unless the parent or guardian can prove the child is immune to the disease or should be "medically exempt from this requirement". "These resulting fines will be as much as $1,000 per person".

Officials from the Department of Health will check vaccination records of anyone who has been in contact with infected patients in certain parts of Brooklyn, officials said.

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"If people get involved quickly, no one will have to pay the penalty", said de Blasio.

Insured adults and children will be covered.

The outbreak has been predominately among ultra Orthodox Jews, and not unsimilar to outbreaks among other insular communities in recent years where parental fears about immunization have been influenced by an anti-vaccine movement in the larger population that persists despite scientific studies showing the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

At least 90 percent of the public should be vaccinated to properly protect the community at large, he said. "I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their [mumps-measles-rubella] vaccines to protect their children, families and communities".

The declaration is the second made by a local government in New York State in response to the outbreak, following one issued by officials in nearby Rockland County this March. These people, then, returned to the United States after contracting the disease.

In Kentucky, a high school student sued state health officials after he was barred from playing basketball because he wasn't vaccinated for chickenpox. People can file for vaccine exemptions based on religious or medical reasons. In early April, a judge ruled against his request to rejoin activities at his school.

This article was written by Alex Horton and Lindsey Bever, reporters for The Washington Post.

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