New York sees worst measles outbreak in decades

New York has had 177 measles cases reported since fall 2018 — one of the most severe outbreaks of the disease the state has seen in decades, according to The New York Times.

The cases are almost exclusively among Orthodox Jewish communities, which often do not receive vaccinations for measles.

New Jersey health officials have reported 33 measles cases driven by similar conditions, and last year, New York and New Jersey accounted for over half the measles cases in the U.S.

To help curb the outbreak, health officials started an effort to increase vaccination rates, but the outbreak is not over yet.

Part of the problem has been resistance among some people in Orthodox neighborhoods to fully cooperate with health workers, receive vaccinations and promptly report infections, according to health officials.

Some religious schools in Orthodox communities had vaccination rates as low as 60 percent, significantly lower than the state average of 92.5 percent, said Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, health commissioner of Rockland County, N.Y. Audits also revealed some schools overreported vaccination rates.

Although there have been no deaths in the outbreak, several young children required hospitalization.

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