By COLlive staff
There have been 535 cases of measles confirmed as of May 23 since the beginning of the outbreak last October, the Health Department of New York City reported.
The majority of cases (78%) remain confined to the neighborhood of Williamsburg (ZIP codes 11205, 11206, 11211, 11249), which has been under an Emergency Order since April 9, requiring people who live or work in these ZIP codes to be vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR).
There have been 40 hospitalizations and 11 admissions to the ICU due to complications. In addition, outside of Williamsburg, there have now been 12 confirmed cases in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, which is an increase of four since the last public update on May 20.
“Williamsburg remains the epicenter of this outbreak, though we have seen some cases in people outside of the Orthodox Jewish community,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
“Given the high vaccination rates in Sunset Park, we do not foresee sustained transmission in this neighborhood. However, measles is extremely contagious, and I strongly urge unvaccinated New Yorkers to immediately get the vaccine, unless there is a medical condition that prevents them from doing so. All New Yorkers should get vaccinated or confirm their immunity status with their doctor.”
The cases in Sunset Park are among individuals who do not identify as part of the Orthodox Jewish community, the Health Departement said.
While the vaccination rate among children in this neighborhood is high, the Health Department will scale up community outreach in the area’s most commonly spoken languages such as English, Spanish and Chinese to raise awareness and encourage vaccinations among children and adults.
To stop the spread of measles in New York City, the Health Department on April 9 ordered adults and children ages 6 months and older who live, work or go to school in ZIP codes 11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249 receive a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine within 48 hours. If non-compliant, the Health Department announced it would issue a civil summons to those in the affected ZIP codes who had not been vaccinated as of April 12.
To date, 122 individuals have received summonses for being non-compliant with the Emergency Order in ZIP codes 11205, 11206, 11211, and 11249 since the City began issuing summonses in mid-April. Any person receiving the summons is entitled to a hearing, and if the hearing officer upholds the summons, a $1,000 penalty will be imposed. Failing to appear at the hearing or respond to the summons will result in a $2,000 fine.
As of May 23, 25,510 doses of MMR have been administered to children 18 years and younger in Williamsburg and Borough Park since October 1, 2018, which is 11,387 more doses than the same time period last year. 12,238 of those individuals reside in Williamsburg, which is 6,298 more than last year.