NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Families in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, were busy getting ready for Passover on Friday, the start of the weeklong holiday, But this year, city health officials are worried that something much more serious than matzah will be passed around the table: measles.
"We have issued three violations to individuals who did not follow our order, our emergency order to be vaccinated if they lived in certain ZIP Codes in Williamsburg," said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the deputy commissioner for disease control at the Department of Health.
The city also closed down four Williamsburg schools on Friday to prevent further measles outbreaks.
At least 359 cases of measles have been reported in the city this year. It all started after unvaccinated individuals traveled to Israel.
Measles was previously declared eradicated in New York. Now health officials are urging people to get vaccinated before they travel for the holiday.
"We want and need the help of all communities, faith leaders healthcare providers in containing this outbreak," said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the health commissioner.
Rabbi Avi Greenstein in Borough Park said wants to make clear that the majority of Orthodox Jews do get vaccinated. He said the very small group that doesn't has a distrust for health officials and misinformation about how vaccinations affect children. He and fellow Rabbis have started outreach in synagogues, also known as shuls.
"There are many shuls that have hung up posters to inform their members that people who are not vaccinated should not enter their Shul," Greenstein said. "I think it's important for someone who's not vaccinated to stay out of areas where there are lots of people."
The Department of Health told FOX 5 NY that the closed schools will not be allowed to reopen until they provide an appropriate action plan to the city that addresses how the measles outbreak will be curbed.