Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has issued an advisory for Orthodox Jews planning to travel to Israel.

The Department is urging travelers to vaccinate their children – and themselves – against the measles virus before boarding the plane.

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There were 90 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn, NY between October 2018 and February 19, 2019, according to the release from the department. It is believed the outbreak was caused by an unvaccinated child who contracted the disease during a trip to Israel.

A high number of cases of the virus has been attributed to the low vaccination rates in strictly Orthodox communities.

Most of the affected neighborhoods in New York City have been those with large Orthodox Jewish populations, particularly the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Borough Park and Williamsburg, in which 40 cases were reported.

In Israel, two fatalities were reported as a result of the measles virus, including the 2018 death of an 18-month-old toddler in Jerusalem.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.