The number of measles cases in the city continues to rise – up to 535 since October – despite an emergency vaccination order issued by the city in April, the city Department of Health said Friday.
While about 78 percent of cases are concentrated in Williamsburg, health officials said 12 measles infections have been confirmed in Sunset Park – up from eight cases recorded on Monday.
“Williamsburg remains the epicenter of this outbreak, though we have seen some cases in people outside of the Orthodox Jewish community,” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a statement on Friday. “Given the high vaccination rates in Sunset Park, we do not foresee sustained transmission in this neighborhood.”
Barbot warned, however, that measles is “extremely contagious” and urged all New Yorkers to confirm their immunity status or get vaccinated, unless they have a medical condition that would prevent them from doing so.
The vaccination rate among children in Sunset Park is relatively high, according to health officials, but the department still plans to step up its educational outreach in the neighborhood in an effort to stem the outbreak. Health care providers in the neighborhood have also been alerted to the increase in cases.
Since the outbreak began in October, there have been 40 hospitalizations and 11 people have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit because of complications related to measles, the Health Department said Friday.
The Health Department’s emergency order, issued on April 9, mandated all adults and children over 6 months old who live, work or go to school in four Brooklyn ZIP codes – 11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249 – get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before April 12 or face a civil summons. As of Friday, 122 people have received summonses, according to health officials.
Those who are issued a summons have the right to fight it at a hearing. If the hearing officer upholds the summons, the defendant must pay a $1,000 fine. If a person does not appear at a hearing or does not respond to the summons, a $2,000 fine is issued.