Friday, May 17, 2013

Measles 'outbreak' hits two Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn 

Measles is practically the 11th plaguing in two Jewish enclaves of Brooklyn right now.

Health officials have reported 30 cases of the Victorian-era scourge — with 26 in Borough Park and another four in the Hasidic quarter of Williamsburg.

And even though the disease has been practically eradicated, it can still be ruinous to people who decline the vaccination.

"There have been two hospitalizations, a miscarriage and a case of pneumonia as a result of this outbreak," a Health Department spokeswoman said. "All cases involved adults or children who were not vaccinated due to refusal or delays in vaccination."

Some parents, including many religious Jews, shun getting the vaccine, which prevents mumps, measles, and rubella, out of fear it causes autism, said Dr. Yu Shia Lin of Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park.

"We have to tell them it is a very contagious disease and that people can die," Lin said.

The outbreak stemmed from a visitor from England who showed up in Brooklyn with the virus, which causes red splotches, fever and aches.

The disease spreads quickly in the Orthodox Jewish community, where family sizes are extremely large and many parents decline vaccinations for their children.

"One person gets it and the whole family can get the disease," Lin warned.

Measles and mumps, like the common cold, is an airborne virus making it easy to catch. It plagued Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries.

In 2008, 30 cases were counted in the city. Followed by 18 cases in 2009, eight cases in 2010, 25 cases in 2011, and five cases in 2012, the Health Department said.

And mumps - linked to a child from Britain - hit dozens of families throughout Borough Park in 2009 as well.

Hasidic parents, out celebrating the holiday of Torah commemoration time of Shavout, said they were unaware that there was an outbreak.
"I am shocked to hear this," said Moshe Fried.


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