Measles vaccine

George Frey / Stringer

Number Of Measles Cases Begins To Slow In New York City

June 11, 2019 - 2:24 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The measles crisis in New York City appears to be slowing down following Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mandatory vaccination order.

The outbreak began October 2018, primarily affecting Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Since then, the city has seen over 588 cases of measles.

In an effort to curb the number of those infected, the mayor declared a public health emergency in April, ordering a mandatory MMR vaccine for people who may have been exposed to the virus in parts of Williamsburg and other Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Now, Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot says the order is having a dramatic impact.

“We have the numbers in May drop by 58% as compared to April,’ she said. “Along with that, we are seeing a dramatic rise in the number of individuals living and Williamsburg and Borough Park, as well as across the city getting vaccinated against the measles.”

Dr. Barbot continues to underline that the vaccine is safe and effective and described the Health Department's battle against those planting seeds of doubt as “hand-to-hand combat.”

“Our message is, you know, spread the truth, not measles,” she added.

At least seven yeshivas in Williamsburg were shuttered after failing to provide vaccination and attendance records for their students. Additionally, the city issued summonses to at least 57 parents for failing to abide by the emergency order.

Federal health officials say that the number of measles cases in 2019 have already surpassed the count for all of 2018.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include a cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, sore throat, fever, and a red, blotchy skin rash.

About 1 child out of every 1,000 who becomes infected with measles will develop encephalitis, which causes swelling of the brain. As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles will develop pneumonia, which can be deadly, according to the CDC.