New York officials warn parents to stop holding 'measles parties' amid latest outbreak

New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot on Tuesday warned parents in the city not to hold so-called "measles parties" as officials work to counter an outbreak of the disease.

Barbot warned that some parents have had "measles parties" to have their children infected with the disease in an effort to immunize them naturally, rather than through a vaccination, according to BuzzFeed News.

"We are concerned about families having measles parties," Barbot said at a news conference, according to Fox News.

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Barbot added that she doesn't want more individuals exposed to measles because of the practice.

"There are many more individuals who are living with chronic diseases, who are surviving cancer, and so we don't want children or adults to be unnecessarily exposed to measles," she said.

Earlier Tuesday, city officials declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn amid the measles outbreak.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) during the news conference urged parents to vaccinate their children.

"There's no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving," he said. "I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their MMR [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccines to protect their children, families and communities."