The measles outbreak in New York has spread to two more counties. Health officials say cases have been confirmed in Westchester and Sullivan Counties following the spike in infections in Rockland County and the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
Measles has been confirmed in eight children, ranging in age from 6 months to 14 years old, all of whom live in northern Westchester and were not vaccinated. Six of the infected children are siblings. Two additional cases were confirmed in Sullivan County.
On Tuesday, New York City declared a public health emergency over the measles outbreak and ordered mandatory vaccinations in one Brooklyn neighborhood for people who may have been exposed to the virus.
Westchester borders Rockland County, where measles cases have been concentrated among members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. The first cases in Westchester occurred in other secluded Hasidic Jewish enclaves, Nitra and nearby Kasho. Officials said the children all appear to have been exposed to measles in Rockland County or Brooklyn.
“I’m very upset that people have their own opinion and not immunizing the children and putting risk on other children who can get sick,” said Nitra Community Administrator Herschel Reich. “It’s very serious.”
Officials say none of the sick children attend public schools or go to child care programs. The Westchester County Department of Health is working with the families and health care providers to identify locations where the children may have exposed others.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children get two doses of measles vaccine. It says the vaccine is 97% effective.