New York City declares end to measles outbreak

New York City health officials on Tuesday declared an end to the largest measles outbreak the city has seen in nearly three decades. 

An emergency order requiring people living in parts of Brooklyn to be vaccinated was also rescinded Tuesday. 

“Ending the measles outbreak required extensive collaboration with community organizations and Jewish leaders,” Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioWhy does New York City lose more residents than the rest of America? The twisted way educators are seeking diversity in education The Memo: Democrats brace for debate showdown MORE, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, said in a statement. 

“They helped encourage vaccinations and achieve record immunization levels in parts of Brooklyn.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had linked the outbreak to unvaccinated travelers who brought measles back from other countries, including Israel, and returned to Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City.

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More than 15,500 people have received measles vaccines since the city issued the emergency order in April. 

While that order was lifted Tuesday, officials are still encouraging New Yorkers to get vaccinated if they are not, warning that the threat of measles is still present. 

“Measles is one of the most contagious diseases on the face of the earth,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “There may no longer be local transmission of measles in New York City, but the threat remains given other outbreaks in the U.S. and around the world.”

Outbreaks are declared over in New York when two incubation periods have passed without any new infections. 

New York has tightened its vaccine laws after the outbreak began, eliminating religious and personal belief exemptions for vaccination requirements for schoolchildren.

While 650 people had been diagnosed with measles since the outbreak started in October, most were unvaccinated children. 

Nationwide, more than 1,200 measles cases had been confirmed in 31 states, including New York. 

It is the largest measles outbreak in the U.S. since 1992. 

Health officials attribute the outbreaks to the spread of misinformation online about the safety of vaccines. 

The CDC says the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is very safe and effective.

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