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NYC health department closes a child care center amid measles outbreak

New York City’s health department closed a child care center after it allegedly failed to provide vaccination records amid a measles outbreak, city officials announced Monday.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last week declared measles a public health emergency and ordered mandatory vaccinations for people living in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood where the disease is spreading. United Talmudical Academy in Williamsburg allegedly did not provide the city with records, prompting the city to close it, officials said.

The city said 23 child care programs and yeshivas, or Orthodox Jewish schools, have received violations for not following the city’s order to exclude unvaccinated children. The United Talmudical Academy in Williamsburg is the first to be closed.

“It’s crucial in this outbreak that child care programs and schools maintain up to date and accurate immunization and attendance records,” Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said in a statement. “It’s the only way we can make sure schools are properly keeping unvaccinated students and staff out of child care centers to hasten the end of this outbreak.”

Of the 90 new cases reported last week, 77 were in New York, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. Williamsburg is home to a large Orthodox Jewish population. Some of them have refused to vaccinate their children, leaving the tight-knit communities vulnerable to the highly contagious disease.

Measles is highly contagious, infecting up to 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to it, according to the CDC. Doctors say two doses of the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine are about 97 percent effective at preventing measles.

“Vaccine is the path to stopping this outbreak,” Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Herminia Palacio said at a press conference. “This is the time to get vaccinated.”