BROOKLYN– Leaders and school administrators from the Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg met Thursday at the offices of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn (UJO) with NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), to stem the spread of measles infection in the community.
The Health Department confirmed six cases of the highly contagious viral infection in Williamsburg’s Orthodox Jewish community. The affected children range in age from 11 months to 4 years old, the New York Post reported.
Five of the children weren’t vaccinated — four because their families chose to delay the shots and one who was too young to get the vaccine.
As per the last Department of Health figures, more children are awaiting lab results to determine if they have the infection. Measles is extremely contagious, and unvaccinated individuals are susceptible to transmit the infection, even if they don’t exhibit symptoms. Measles can be very dangerous and even fatal, especially for those with a compromised immune system.
As a result of the meeting, UJO is reminding the community of the following:
- Parents must ensure that their children received the recommended vaccination doses, at age 1 and a second one at age 4.
- Measles infections are far more prevalent in Israel and Europe. Hence, before travelling with children overseas, parents should make sure that their children from six months and older are vaccinated.
- Measles symptoms include fever, and a rash starting on the face, spreading down the body and occasionally also appearing on the palms and soles.
- Children exhibiting such symptoms should not attend school, and the parents should contact their doctor to arrange for an appointment privately, in order not to transmit the infection to other patients.
- Schools where a student was diagnosed with measles are required by the Department of Health to exclude all non-vaccinated students until 21 days after the last measles case reported.
Dr. Jane R. Zucker, MD, assistant commissioner of the NYC-DOHMH Bureau of Immunization, updated community leaders and school administrators, on the outbreak, and discussed how to ensure that the entire community follows all tips, to stop this outbreak before it results in more suffering.
The meeting was also attended by DOHMH Associate Commissioner Sam Miller, Pinny Ringel, senior member of the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit, and representatives from the offices of Assemblyman Joe Lentol, State Senator Kavanagh and Councilman Steve Levin also participated at the meeting and committed their support in the effort to stop the outbreak.
“For decades, the UJO worked with the NYC Department of Health and the local schools and community leaders to stop outbreaks of infectious diseases. This collaboration is vital for the health of the community. We will continue efforts to ensure that everybody follows the above instructions,” said Rabbi David Niederman, president of the UJO of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn. “We are thankful for the Department of Health for the early detection, alert of this outbreak, and we pray that with everyone’s cooperation we will be able to stop the spread of this disease.”