Unvaccinated Students Banned Following Measles Outbreak in Williamsburg

Following a measles outbreak of 39 confirmed cases in Williamsburg and Borough Park since October, the New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene has banned unvaccinated schoolchildren from attending Orthodox Jewish schools in Brooklyn.

The highly contagious virus can infect people of all ages who lack a vaccination. The measles outbreak in Williamsburg stems from children who traveled to Israel, where the country’s Ministry of Health counted over 1,300 measles patients in November of this year. NYC health officials released a statement warning travelers to take caution.

As of December 5, there have been 39 confirmed cases of measles in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn since October. The initial child with measles was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring. Since then, there have been additional children from Brooklyn who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel.

If you plan to travel to Israel, protect yourself and your family against measles and get vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at least two weeks in advance of your trip. If you have traveled to Israel and you have a fever, cough, red eyes, runny nose and body rash, contact your doctor. You should call your doctor before going to their office to prevent exposing other people to measles.

As of Friday, Dec. 7, yeshiva students can only attend school if they are vaccinated, even if the student has an approved exemption and/or the yeshiva has no reported measles cases. Unvaccinated students can return to school after receiving the proper shots.

According to the Dept. of Health, pre-k and daycare attending children must have at least one measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and kindergarten through 12th-grade students must have two MMR shots.

Approximately 2 percent of children in the Orthodox community remain unvaccinated for either religious or medical purposes, NBC New York reports.

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