Brooklyn Boro

These are all the Brooklyn neighborhoods with measles

The disease has slowed significantly citywide.

July 16, 2019 Scott Enman
Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency on April 9 requiring mandatory measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations for residents who live in certain northern Brooklyn ZIP codes. Photo via Mayoral Photography Office
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The number of confirmed measles cases in New York City has risen to 623 as of Monday, but the spread of the disease has slowed down significantly with only one new case since July 1, a clear sign that the city’s emergency order and well-funded campaign to promote vaccinations is working.

The number of new cases of the infection has dropped steadily — from 177 in April, to 93 in May, to 22 in June to just a single case so far this month. As of June 25, the city had used roughly $2 million to fight the outbreak, according to Demetre Daskalakis, deputy commissioner of the city’s Department of Health.

“While the latest measles numbers make us cautiously optimistic, the Health Department will continue to monitor the situation and on-going transmission closely,” a DOH spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“We’ll remain vigilant in protecting the health of all New Yorkers and maintain the current enforcement strategy until further notice, as well as a continued focus on education and prevention.”

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The number of confirmed cases of measles in New York City has risen to 566. AP Photo/Seth Wenig
A doctor administers a shot. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency on April 9 requiring mandatory measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations for residents who live in the northern Brooklyn ZIP codes of 11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249. After the outbreak was announced, vaccination rates in Williamsburg — where the number of confirmed cases is highest — rose from around 70 percent to about 92 percent, Daskalakis said.

The Mayor and Governor’s offices have worked in tandem to help stymie the outbreak. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill on June 13 banning any non-medical exemption to vaccinations, including religious exemptions.

While the majority of attention has been focused on the ultra-Orthodox enclaves of Williamsburg and Borough Park, some people may be unaware that there are seven other areas of Brooklyn that have confirmed cases of the disease.

These include Sunset Park, Crown Heights, Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach/Coney Island, Flatbush, Midwood/Marine Park and Red Hook. (See below for the exact number of cases in each area as of July 15.)

Measles By Neighborhood:

  • Williamsburg: 454
  • Borough Park: 110
  • Sunset Park: 17
  • Crown Heights: 8
  • Brighton Beach/Coney Island: 5
  • Midwood/Marine Park: 5
  • Bensonhurst: 3
  • Flatbush: 1
  • Red Hook: 1

Only Borough Park, Crown Heights, Sunset Park and Williamsburg, however, have ongoing transmission, which occurs when one resident of a neighborhood passes on the virus to another resident of the same neighborhood. A neighborhood may have a “new” case, for example, without ongoing transmission if that resident was exposed elsewhere.

The outbreak began spreading in the fall of 2018, when DOH officials announced that six Brooklyn children had contracted the disease. The initial Brooklyn case was acquired by a child on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak was taking place.

The city recently introduced a new slogan, “Spread The Truth Not Measles,” in an attempt to fight a highly sophisticated campaign of anti-vaxxers seeking to undermine the city’s order. Its previous catchphrase was “Don’t Wait. Vaccinate.”

“We don’t want anyone to take this for granted and say, ‘I don’t need to worry about getting vaccinated,'” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said of the campaign. “The message here is that the measles vaccination is safe, it’s effective and it’s working, but we need more people to get vaccinated against measles.”

Through celebrity spokespersons like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and actress Jessica Biel — along with a glossy magazine spreading misinformation called the “PEACH pamphlet” — the anti-vaxxers have had some success in deterring parents from having their children vaccinated.

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

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