Measles Vaccine

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New Measles Cases In NY Bring National Tally To 25-Year High

April 24, 2019 - 2:56 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — The number of measles cases in New York City continues to grow rapidly with the Health Department confirming 390 people have been sickened as of Wednesday.

There have been 61 new cases of the disease since last week. 

Two pregnant women have now been diagnosed and officials say 83 percent of the 390 cases have occurred in the four Brooklyn zip codes currently affected by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s emergency vaccination order.

Two decades ago, measles was virtually erradicated in the United States. The health department in New York has slapped 12 people with summonses for not being inoculated. That could result in a $1,000 fine. Dr. Joseph Kaplovitz a pediatrician at NYU Langone blames a small segment of the population.

"Most people think immunization's important and most of them take it seriously. The problem is that we have this small number of people who are making a lot of noise," Kaplovitz said. "Some of the misinformation is that it causes autism, that the vaccines containe mercury, that the disease itself will protect them from cancer, that the disease will protect them from eczema. These are some of the false things that they are telling to the community."

The newly confirmed cases push 2019’s national tally past the 667 cases reported for all of 2014, making this the worst year for measles since 1994, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Roughly three-quarters of this year's illnesses have been in New York, mainly in New York City and nearby Rockland County. Most of those cases have been in unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities.

The CDC recommends the vaccine for every American over 1 year old.

Measles is highly contagious. It can lead to pneumonia and brain swelling.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)