The number of confirmed measles cases in New York City has increased to 329 since October, and according to the city's health department, the outbreak is expected to worsen over the next 3 to 5 weeks. "This is a highly contagious disease".
"Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people", the World Health Organization statement said.
NY health officials said the Brooklyn outbreak was caused by an unvaccinated child returning from a trip to Israel, which is also grappling with an outbreak.
The states that have reported cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
While vaccines are required for school children across the country, nearly all states allow exemptions for families who say it's against their religious beliefs, and 17 states allow a parent to opt out for philosophical or personal reasons.
Most of the cases have been in NY, site of an outbreak among ultra-Orthodox Jews that started in the fall.
The measles outbreak has spread primarily in the Orthodox Jewish community, where vaccination rates are lower, throughout four zip codes encompassing greater Williamsburg.
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The city's Department of Health did not respond to requests for comment.
"The school will be allowed to reopen once they convince us that they are able to, on a consistent basis, keep students in school that should be in school, and keep students out of school that should not be in school", Barbot said.
This creates the environment for a large outbreak to occur - such as those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kyrgyzstan and Madagascar.
When pressed as to how many fines were issued, Barbot said she did not know at the time.
Several people had to be hospitalized, but no fatalities had been reported as of last week.
"There is insufficient evidence of a measles epidemic or risky outbreak to justify the respondents' extraordinary measures, including forced vaccination", said the lawsuit, identifying the parents only by their initials. "This should not happen", said Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and an adviser to the CDC on vaccines. "This anti-vax movement has proven to be very risky".
Measles isn't just rising in the United States.