New York City threatens Orthodox Jewish yeshivas with health violations over unvaccinated students

New York City on Monday threatened to issue health violations against yeshivas in an Orthodox Jewish section of Brooklyn if they do not exclude all unvaccinated students.

The warning came amid a measles outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community. There have been 285 cases since October, the city's Health Department said in a news release.

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"Any school out of compliance will immediately be issued a violation," the release reads.

The wide majority of the cases — 246 of them — are children, the department said.

"Most of these measles cases were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals," the department added. "There have been no deaths associated with this outbreak, although there have been complications, including 21 hospitalizations and five admissions to the intensive care unit."

Measles cases have spiked in the last week, with many cases tied to one unvaccinated child who acquired measles on a visit to Israel. The Orthodox Jewish community has been notably skeptical of the value of vaccines. 

New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot urged all New Yorkers to get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to prevent a further spread of the outbreak.

“This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods. They have been spreading dangerous misinformation based on fake science,” Barbot said. “We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk."