Brooklyn Boro

Measles cases rise to 566 citywide, but the disease slows down in Sunset Park

June 7, 2019 Scott Enman
The number of confirmed cases of measles in New York City has risen to 566. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The number of confirmed measles cases in New York City has risen to 566, up 31 since May 28. The epidemic, mostly contained to the Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, has continued to spread in Sunset Park with 13 cases, but at a slower pace, with only one person contracting the disease in the last week.

Assistant Speaker of the Assembly Felix Ortiz held a press conference on Friday afternoon with Sunset Park doctors to let residents know that help is available. The doctors reiterated the importance of vaccinations and outlined some of the dangers of the disease.

Dr. Stephanie Sterling, an infectious disease epidemiologist at NYU Langone Hospital, said that while it was alarming at first to see the disease spread to the Latino immigrant population, she was hopeful that the outbreak had begun to die down in Sunset Park.

“The concerning thing for Sunset Park was prior to the Sunset Park cases, they were primarily in the Orthodox community, but there was a change in that we saw it more in our Latino immigrant population,” she said.

“We haven’t seen it take off like it did in the Orthodox community. The thought is that it’s because there is better vaccination and protection within Sunset Park, but the curb has been improving in the last couple weeks. There was only one confirmed case in Sunset Park in the last week, which is reassuring.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency on April 9 requiring mandatory measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations for residents who live in the 11205, 11206, 11211, 11249 ZIP codes.

“Since the Health Department declared an Emergency Order in April, thousands of New Yorkers have chosen to get vaccinated, which protects friends, families and neighbors,” Health Department spokesperson Michael Lanza told the Brooklyn Eagle. “Vaccines are safe, effective and remain the best protection against measles.”

No additional schools have been issued closure orders since May 29.

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The mayor said individuals and parents who ignored the order would be fined up to $1,000 and questioned by “disease detectives.”

As of June 3, 145 individuals had been issued summonses, but 58 of those were cancelled because the individual got vaccinated or presented proof of immunity.

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