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NYC announces measles outbreak, but anti-vaccine fight continues



The largest New York measles epidemic of nearly 30 years, which has plagued the clashing ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents of Williamsburg and Borough Park, is over.

According to Department of Health officials, 42 days or two consecutive incubation periods for a highly contagious virus have passed, allowing the city to declare itself to combat measles. The last reported infection was in mid-July. An emergency order has been introduced since April requiring measles vaccination for all people who have lived, worked or studied in four Brooklyn postcodes.

"There may no longer be local measles transmission in New York, but the threat remains other outbreaks in the US and around the world," Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said at a news conference on Tuesday. "Our best protection against renewed transmission is to have a well-immunized city."

Since the outbreak in early October, 654 New Yorkers became ill, 73 percent of whom were unvaccinated children. Fifty-two people were hospitalized and 1

6 of those were admitted to intensive care units, according to the health department.

"The response to this outbreak is nothing short of epic," Barbot said, adding that 547 health officials worked more than 1,000 hours. In total, response efforts cost the city more than $ 6 million.

Efforts to tackle the epidemic were met by the repulsion of anti-vaccine activists at every stage, she said. who continue to hold rallies and scare parents, "Barbot said. "These campaigns of fear and lies put New Yorkers at risk.

While in the hearth of New York, no one was killed, an Israeli flight attendant who caught the virus traveling from New York to Tel Aviv died of complications in mid-August, according to the Times of Israel. All hospitalizations have recovered, although some severe, long-term complications of measles can occur months and even years later, officials said.

The height of the epidemic occurred in April with nearly 200 cases. Those numbers began to decline in the coming months after the city declared a public health emergency. Immunization of children in the affected neighborhoods has skyrocketed during this time, from 88 percent before the outbreak to nearly 99 percent in Borough Park and from 67 percent to 95 percent in Williamsburg, officials said.

As part of the city's emergency line, people who have refused vaccination for themselves or their children can be fined $ 1,000. The city granted 232 of these calls to parents for failing to vaccinate their children, and about 29 had to pay fines after an administrative hearing. Some cases are still pending and others 159 have been canceled after the family either vaccinated their child or showed evidence of measles immunity.

In the years leading up to this last outbreak, far-right areas saw a drop in immunization and a jump in religious exceptions, Gothamist and WNYC reported. The trend is largely fueled by misinformation about the perceived danger of vaccines, spread by a handful of vaccination activists within the Orthodox community who have had links with the national, secular anti-vaccine movement and spread their ideas with glossy hand-drawn brochures. , robots, hot mom phone calls, and massive symposiums with hundreds of visitors.

Members of the super-Orthodox community who supported the vaccination countered with their information brochures, calling sessions, hotlines, and events. Nurse practitioner Blima Marcus, one of the organizers of the effort, said she was relieved that the outbreak was over but that her work was far from done. they vaccinate their school-aged children, "Marcus said." We get a lot of emails. We get hundreds of phone calls. "

She cites a change in state law that came into force in June where lawmakers remove religious vaccine exemptions, which means all children in school (except for medical exemptions approved by the Ministry of Health) must be immunized when they return to class, with a grace period of 14 days from the beginning of school for children to receive their first photo shoot and 30 days to plan all the boosters you need.Around 7,000 New Yorkers had religious exceptions and another 20,000 in the state, finally.All of these religious exceptions are now invalid.

Most of the mothers Marcus interacts with are terrified and confused and trying to do the best for their children, she "still has so many many women now know that vaccines should be given AT, but still have not dealt with their problems, "said Marcus. "I've never been here to get people to vaccinate. I really tried to do the work by helping people make that decision and feel comfortable in it; and now they need it more than ever. "

While the majority of measles infection has occurred among ultra-Orthodox communities, the government's response to the epidemic has spurred vaccine activists across the country and the country – some Amish, some Mennonites, others related to Waldorf alternative private schools schools. They have filed numerous legal challenges in federal and state courts, they have been indisputable before Albany's lobbyists, and they have assembled courtrooms when their cases were heard. So far, legal challenges to restoring religious exceptions have proved unsuccessful, although lawyers have promised to file a complaint in a state lawsuit challenging it this week.

While New York may have resolved its measles problem for now, epidemics in other parts of the state continue, threatening to end the state of measles elimination in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 16 documented cases in August, according to spokeswoman Jill Montag, with 5 in Rockland County, 2 in Orange County, 5 in Sullivan County and 4 in Wyoming.


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