Bill de Blasio has said unvaccinated people living in the affected areas need to get the vaccine or they will face fines. This is the city’s largest measles outbreak since 1991 as 285 cases have been confirmed since October, compared to only two cases reported in 2017. Mr de Blasio said at a news conference: “This is the epicentre of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately.“
The Brooklyn outbreak was started by an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, according to New York City’s Department of Health.
Officials from the Department of Health will now check vaccination records of anyone who has been in contact with infected patients in certain parts of Brooklyn.
Mr de Blasio was joined by health officials at the conference who said ”misinformation” was being spread by people opposed to vaccination.
People who have not received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, and cannot provide other evidence of immunity, such as having previously had the measles, will face a fine of up to $1,000.
It is the first time New York City has ordered mandatory vaccinations for several years, according to health officials.
The cases have so far been mainly confined to the Orthodox Jewish community in the borough of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighbourhood.
But the disease is easily spread and can be fatal.
Although there have been no confirmed deaths so far, 21 people have been taken to hospital and five have been admitted to intensive care, officials said.
Most of the cases have involved children too.
Other parts of the US have seen a surge in reported cases of measles over the past year.
There has been at least 465 cases reported in 19 states since the start of 2019, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The mandatory vaccination order follows an order from the Health Department last week, which required yeshivas and day-care programs serving Williamsburg’s Orthodox Jewish community to exclude unvaccinated children, otherwise they will face fines or even closure.