April 7, 2019/אור לג' ניסן תשע"ט
Dear Community Members,
Unfortunately, this past Friday, a child in our own community was diagnosed with measles. This has caused great alarm in our community and, with planned Yom Tov travel of many families to and from other communities with numerous measles cases, many have questioned the level of protection carried by various age segments of our community.
In order to obtain clear guidance for our community, telephone conferences have been held between representatives of the Vaad HaRabbonim, Hatzalah, our community’s schools, physicians, the leadership and infectious disease team at Sinai/Lifebridge, and State, City and County Health Departments. The medical professionals and governmental officials emphasized that while our community should exercise caution, at this time there is not an epidemic of any kind in our community. Over the next few days, they, in conjunction with the Vaad HaRabbonim and community representatives, will develop guidance and recommendations for us on specific questions, and on the advisability of holding an “MMR Clinic” as has been done in other cities to provide vaccinations.
In the meantime, we have received the following practical guidance for Yom Tov family gatherings and otherwise large crowd exposure:
- If you suspect you or your child has or may have been exposed to measles, call your doctor about the symptoms before showing up in the waiting room. The patient should not attend childcare, school, work, or any other public place until he or she is no longer contagious.
- Anyone who has received both recommended MMR vaccine doses can be comfortable in public places.
- Parents of children who received the first MMR dose at ~12 months should contact their pediatrician to determine if they are eligible to receive a second dose, as early this week as possible, to allow maximum protection by the time crowds gather for Yom Tov.
- Individuals who choose not to vaccinate themselves or their children must avoid public places and group settings of all kinds, as their presence poses a serious risk to the community at large.
- Immune-compromised people should avoid public gatherings.
- Pregnant women should contact their Ob/GYN or family physicians regarding their immunity concerns. If they have immunity or have had 2 MMR vaccines, they should be fine in all situations, and if not, they should avoid public gatherings.
Please consult with your family doctor for specific advice for your situation. We will continue to communicate with you as we receive guidance from the health professionals.
We pray that HKB”H continue to watch over all of us.
Vaad HaRabbonim of Baltimore
Hatzalah of Baltimore
Bais Yaakov of Baltimore
Bnos Yisroel of Baltimore
Cheder Chabad of Baltimore
Cheder D’Kahal Chassidim
Ner Israel Rabbinical College
Ohr Chadash Academy of Baltimore (OCA)
Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim/Talmudical Academy of Baltimore
Yeshivas Kochav Yitzchok/Torah Institute of Baltimore
Yeshivas Toras Simcha of Baltimore