NYC orders mandatory vaccines for some amid measles outbreak


NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials today ordered nearly everyone in a heavily Orthodox Jewish New York City neighborhood to be vaccinated for measles or face fines, reviving a public-health strategy experts say hasn't been used in the U.S. in recent memory.

The emergency order came as the city, a suburban New York county and some other parts of the nation grapple with a spurt in a disease the U.S. declared eradicated almost two decades ago.

"This is an unusual action," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged, "and it's because of the sheer extent of the crisis."

Meanwhile, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elevated its response to measles, establishing a larger team to focus on outbreaks that have sickened 465 people nationwide this year – the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated domestically in 2000.

The nation's biggest city is in the midst of its biggest measles outbreak since 1991, with 285 cases diagnosed since last fall – compared to two in all of 2017, officials said. They blamed the spike partly on anti-vaccine campaigns spreading misinformation that immunizations are dangerous.

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