But so far, the epidemic is largely confined to Williamsburg and within its large Orthodox Jewish community.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said: "We are declaring a public health emergency in Williamsburg due to the 300 cases of measles reported in our city - primarily concentrated in Brooklyn". Two hundred eighty-five cases have been confirmed in New York City since the fall.
Measles has been confirmed in eight unvaccinated children from northern Westchester.
"Measles is a unsafe, potentially deadly disease that can easily be prevented with vaccine", Dr. Herminia Palacio, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services explained. One of them was Cindy Scher, mother of four children age 7 to 17, all of whom have been vaccinated.
A growing number of vaccine exemptions are being filed at school districts across the state, with the majority of exempting parents in Utah claiming personal reasons over religious or medical reasons. There are reports of handbooks targeting the Orthodox community, arguing vaccines are not kosher or misrepresenting the danger of measles.
"Utahns don't need to panic, but rather carefully consider their vaccination status", she said, adding it isn't too late to get the vaccine.
Measles is a contagious viral disease with complications including swelling of the brain, pneumonia, ear infections and diarrhea. "When people choose not to be vaccinated, measles returns, and outbreaks occur". "Our religion says that you should do it", he said across the street from the Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov school. The health department has threatened to close these yeshivas if they do not comply. A flawless storm of virulent anti-vaccine sentiment has taken hold in the United States in less than two decades - most commonly among those too young to remember the wrath of measles and other deadly diseases - that can be pinpointed to some of these factors: a fraudulent U.K. research study that linked autism with vaccines, the rise of uninformed and potentially risky social media chatter, and pockets of people who either don't believe measles is "as bad as we are told" or who desire natural, so-called alternative parenting styles.
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Kerry responded that "we are complicit" as long as nothing is done to stem climate change. Another witness, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, "Yes".
However some locals, like Miriam, 66, are anxious about how the outbreak may affect their family members. She said people should call ahead and make arrangements. To them, fear of the unknown outweighs fear of a disease that they have never seen in their lifetime.
Twisted anti-vaxxer parents are holding "measles parties" so their children catch the frequently fatal virus instead of being vaccinated.
Begun said he believes the city's vaccination order will be effective. Those who refused to get immunized within 48 hours will risk receiving violation tickets or incurring fines of $1,000. "I don't think they should be getting fined, I think another penalty should be given", said Charlette Hamlin, 36, who is in favor of vaccinations for all.
Other residents also proposed alternative solutions to stop the spread of the disease.
If people are unsure of their vaccination history, Amler said, they should contact their health department or the last school they attended.
"I'm concerned but I'm not at a point of crisis mobilization", Latimer said. "Nobody has measles in my family, and my children all took the vaccines".