An 11-year-old boy is at the centre of a potential mumps epidemic among New York’s strictly Orthodox community because he is believed to have been the carrier of the disease after visiting the UK.
More than 300 people, almost all strictly Orthodox, have been diagnosed with mumps in the towns of Monsey and New Square, home to over 7,000 Skverer Chasidim.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said they believed the source of the outbreak had been traced to an 11-year-old boy who had recently returned from the UK and then attended a summer camp for Orthodox Jewish boys in Sullivan County, New York.
The disease is said to have spread to the strictly Orthodox communities in Brooklyn and New Jersey, with up to 1,000 cases diagnosed since August.
The Rockland Department of Health says that people it treated for the disease said they did not immunise their children against mumps because of religious considerations.
In June 2009, a mumps outbreak within Stamford Hill’s Orthodox community prompted the local health authority to send immunisation teams to five Orthodox Jewish schools.