The City of New York has declared a public health emergency, as misinformation on social media about vaccines has been linked to a measles outbreak.
The emergency warning covers certain postcodes in the Borough of Brooklyn. All residents in the affected areas have been told to get vaccinated or face a fine. There have been 285 cases in the area since 30 September. Of those infected, 246 were children
‘This outbreak is being fuelled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighbourhoods. They have been spreading dangerous misinformation based on fake science,’ New York Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said in statement.
‘We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk. We’ve seen a large increase in the number of people vaccinated in these neighbourhoods, but as passover approaches, we need to do all we can to ensure more people get the vaccine.’
Of the 285 reported cases, 21 people have been hospitalised and five had been admitted to an intensive care unit. No deaths have been reported. Under the order, any person living in the affected areas who has not been vaccinated must be immunised within 48 hours. Parents of children older than six months must get them vaccinated or show proof of immunisation.
‘I want everyone to understand how serious this is and how quickly it spreads,’ said New York mayor Bill de Blasio. ‘The bottom line is to recognise that this is something that has now become even more urgent.’
Recently a county in New York state declared a state of emergency following a measles outbreak.
Rockland County banned unvaccinated children from public spaces after 153 cases were confirmed.