(Bebeto Matthews / AP / Shutterstock)  Five more ultra-orthodox schools have been cited by the New York Department of Health and Sanitation to allow unvaccinated children to attend classes flagrant violation of an order issued in December to prevent the spread of measles.
The schools, as quoted last month, are all located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the epicenter of the measles eruption that has left 158 New Yorkers, including 137 children, sick.
"The outbreak is not over and we continue to see cases where unvaccinated students are not properly excluded from school," health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a statement.
Health department investigators One of the schools was fined but could be financially damaged if it turns out that they did not obey the city's instructions in future examinations, according to the Ministry of Health
The New York State Law usually requires all students to be vaccinated against measles to attend public or private school, but permits exceptions for a valid religious or medical reason.
Issued in December the Ministry of Health however, an emergency order prohibiting ultra-orthodox Jewish schools in postcodes where the virus prevailed to admit even infested children in the buildings. Officials said the order would prevent the spread of measles.
More than 96 percent of children in the 1
Among the ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn (also known as Haredi), an anti-vaccine hotline and a publication have fueled fears over the alleged dangers of vaccines.
The five schools that violated the order, according to the Department of Health, are: Bnos Square of Williamsburg, Bnos Chayil (Wythe Avenue), Bnos Chayli (Hughes Street), Tiferes Bnos Children, and Simche Children. The person who answered the phone at Tiferes Bnos said they had no time to comment and hang up. The administrators of the other four schools have not sent any comment requests back.
In three out of five schools, according to health inspectors, not only unvaccinated, but infectious children went to class, although it is not yet clear if they will trigger more cases. The incubation period for measles is up to 21 days, so more children may have been infected and have not had any symptoms.
A number of Jewish leaders say they support the health department's order to keep the unvaccinated students away from Yeshivas.
"Anyone who fails to abide by this policy violates the basic Jewish principle of protecting their health and protecting another person's health," said Rabbi Simcha Scholar. "You do not have the right to endanger other children."
Scholar is chief executive officer Chai Lifeline, a group that works with cancer-stricken children in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community who are particularly susceptible to measles and severe complications. Join us.
Last month, the health department announced that another school, Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov Pupa, had objected to their orders. Now, officials have connected another 42 measles cases to the school, 28 of which have caught them, and another 14 who have caught the virus second-hand.
Since the start of the measles outbreak last October, 11 people have been hospitalized and one child had to be given intensive care. Nobody died.
Gwynne Hogan is Associate Producer at WNYC. You can find her on Twitter at @GwynneFitz .