New York Measles Outbreak Halted Among Orthodox

58 Cases Reported in Williamsburg and Boro Park

By Seth Berkman

Published July 22, 2013.
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A measles outbreak among New York’s Orthodox Jewish community has been curtailed, according to officials for the city’s department of health.

From March to June, 58 cases of measles were reported in Williamsburg and Boro Park in Brooklyn, two heavily populated Orthodox Jewish communities, among children and adults who were not vaccinated or had denied vaccination. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene worked with yeshivas, rabbis and other community groups to report cases and encourage vaccination.

The outbreak resulted in one case of pneumonia and two hospitalizations. Measles is a viral infection that can also cause miscarriages, brain inflammation, hospitalization and even death.

The collaboration between city health officials and the Orthodox community on measles prevention was notably more cooperative than other recent efforts between the two parties. Members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and the DOHMH are currently involved in litigation revolving around the city’s regulation of metzitzah b’peh, a controversial oral suction cleansing technique used after circumcision, which can transmit herpes. Pro-MBP advocates claim the city’s medical evidence is false and that the regulation infringes on religious rights.


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