Measles emergency in NYC

Measles mumps and rubella vaccines are seen in a cooler at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona New York earlier this year

New York City is experiencing the largest measles outbreak in the United States in decades, with as many as 285 confirmed cases since the fall and congregating predominately in a Brooklyn Orthodox community.

Officials say none of the sick children attend public schools or go to child care programs.

"There are many more individuals who are living with chronic diseases, who are surviving cancer, and so we don't want children or adults to be unnecessarily exposed to measles" due to "measles parties". Six of the infected children are siblings. Governmental records indicate that the measles vaccination rates in yeshivos in Williamsburg, Borough Park and across New York State are high, with yeshiva averages statewide exceeding 96%.

"I know that parents may be afraid of getting their child vaccinated, but as a pediatrician, I know that getting vaccinated is far safer than getting measles", said NYC Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, according to CBS News.

"I'm concerned but I'm not at a point of crisis mobilization", Latimer said.

Measles is highly contagious, infecting up to 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to it, the CDC said.

McCarthy had a massive platform at the time of her son's heart-rending diagnosis for autism, so when she correlated that diagnosis with "dangerous chemicals" in vaccines, panic among parents ensued.

Measles symptoms start with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. Those who have not received the MMR vaccine or do not have evidence of immunity may be given a violation and could be fined $1,000. She told Oprah it was "mommy instinct" and that she hadn't wanted to vaccinate her son because of an article she had read recounting a study published inLancet. The virus spread from there.

"It is not the authority of the general government, county executive or legislators to make those declarations, and I think that is as it should be", Latimer said. "That combination means this is the right time for this measure".

A CDC report states that the US had a notifiable measles outbreak in 1912, resulting in around 6,000 deaths every year, until scientists developed the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in 1963.

The federal agency says that disease transmission for the recent cases likely originated in countries where measles is more common - throughout Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Africa and the Philippines - places people commonly visit.

Anyone who visited the property outside that timeframe is not at risk from that particular exposure, health officials said.

"This is a country that has an interesting relationship with religion - the country was founded by people seeking some kind of religious liberties", Siepser said.

Amler advised parents to consult with their healthcare provider about moving up plans to give their young children the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.

David R. Curry, executive director of the Center for Vaccine Ethics and Policy, told China Daily: "Once your child is exposed and has measles, there is no better convincing argument to parents who may be questioning whether vaccinations work than when they have to come to grips with the fact that their child, because they were unvaccinated, suddenly has a potentially risky disease".