Photo by Colin Mixson
Sick: Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov in Williamsburg, where 21 cases of measles originated in a far-reaching outbreak that mainly involves orthodox Jewish children.
By Colin Mixson
The Brooklyn card
The educators of a Williamsburg yeshiva allowed a virulent virus to infect 21 new victims by letting an unvaccinated child attend classes there, according to the city's chief physician, who urged parents to vaccinate their children against the disease potentially mortal.
"As a pediatrician, I can not stress enough how critical it is to vaccinate children against measles," said the commissioner of the health department, Dr. Oxiris Barbot. "Measles is a serious, highly contagious and potentially fatal infection Complications and deaths are rare but occur".
Yeshiva leaders Kehilath Yakov of Wilson Street allowed the unvaccinated youth to socialize with his classmates, even if the school is subject to a health emergency measure that imposes schools in parts of Williamsburg and Borough Park – where the Measles has infected 121 people since October – prohibiting children who have not received the required number of doses of the MMR vaccine to attend classes, according to representatives from the Department of Health.
The unvaccinated pupil showed no symptoms at the time, but already contracted the virus, and the highly contagious pathogen in the air soon swept the school.
Health Department spokesman Michael Lanza was unable to say immediately when the outbreak of Kehilath Yakov began and added that agency officials still have to release violations or sanctions as a result of new infections. But Barbot has issued a signed "commissioner's order" that reinforces the emergency mandate for yeshiva leaders, who may be penalized if they violate the demand further, according to Lanza.
The health department's investigators traced the largest outbreak of the disease to Brooklyn for an initial case that a count of kings contracted during an October visit to Israel, where another virus outbreak is in full swing. In the five districts, the disease spread only among members of the Orthodox Jewish community, with all but one originating in Kings County, according to spokesperson for the Stephanie Buhle agency.
And news of the 21 other cases of measles prompted Orthodox advisers Kalman Yeger (D-Borough Park) and Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay) to join city health officials and other experts in their vaccination requests, with Yeger which emphasizes the importance of immunization members of his community.
"It is imperative that parents immediately vaccinate their children," he said. "It is equally imperative that our parents and yeshivas take all the necessary precautions to keep unvaccinated children away".
Kehilath Yakov's staff declined to comment.
Published 12:00 am, March 7th 2019