New York City (New York state) Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency on Tuesday, April 9, due to an ongoing measles outbreak in the city. The emergency is in effect until at least Wednesday, April 17, for four zip codes in Brooklyn covering the Williamsburg and Borough Park neighborhoods. Under the order, individuals who live, work, or reside in the area are required to be vaccinated unless they can demonstrate immunity or medical exemption; violations may result in a fine. According to health officials, the measure will be enforced by checking vaccinations records as new cases arise. As of Tuesday, there have been 285 confirmed cases of measles since October 2018, including 21 hospitalizations.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that typically affects children and, in severe cases, can cause pneumonia, swelling of the brain, and death. Symptoms of measles include a high fever, which begins approximately ten to 12 days after exposure to the virus and last four to seven days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks may develop in the initial stages, followed by a rash on the face and upper neck that spreads to the hands and feet. The rash typically lasts about five to six days. A vaccine is available and effective.
Individuals in or planning travel to New York, and the US more generally, are advised to adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities, ensure their vaccinations are up to date, and to contact their doctor with any questions or concerns. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms are urged to seek immediate medical attention.
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