Six cases of measles have been confirmed in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, with all of the patients being Orthodox Jewish children between 11 months and four years old, the New York City Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday.
“The initial case of measles was acquired by a child on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring,” the Health Department said in a statement, according to radio station 1010 WINS.
The health department is meeting Thursday with rabbis and local elected officials to spread awareness of the disease, NBC 4 reported.
A similar outbreak has also grown in Jewish communities in Rockland County, home to many ultra-Orthodox enclaves, with the state health department confirming 11 measles cases on Tuesday. The disease spread there from three different groups that also traveled to Israel, the state health department said. It added that two of the cases were developed due to exposure in Rockland County.
Measles, a highly infectious disease, was declared eliminated in 2000, but has made a comeback as vaccination rates have dropped, particularly in religious communities. A study published in the academic journal JAMA Pediatrics in August found that the 2013 New York measles outbreak, the largest in decades in the city with more than 3,000 infected, occurred entirely within Orthodox Jewish communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park.