A mumps outbreak in the Orthodox community, which began last summer, has spread beyond Williamsburg and Borough Park to include scattered incidents in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Far Rockaway, Queens, city Health Department officials say.
Far Rockaway pediatrician Dr. Hylton Lightman told The Jewish Week that he has seen about 20 mumps patients, most of them men between 17 and 23, as well as four or five girls and two mothers.
Among his patients is a staff member at the Bnot Shulamith Elementary School in Woodmere, L.I.
Chasidic residents of Williamsburg and Borough Park are currently battling two dangerous disease outbreaks — a minor spread of the measles and a more serious eruption of the intestinal infection Shigella.
It had big-money marketing written all over it. Every detail in the Soho gallery space was futuristically sleek and designed to impress the New Yorkers who, the company hoped, would be sold on shelling out $2,499 to get their DNA tested for 18 disease predispositions — but only after they enjoyed fresh pomegranate juice or a “Navitini,” a cocktail created for the occasion.
Munching on healthy hors d’hoevres, several dozen people milled among the computer monitors showing Navigenics videos of happy customers.
Undergirding the current standoff between the fervently Orthodox community and the New York City Department of Health over a controversial circumcision practice appears to be a gulf of cultural difference and a fundamental misunderstanding of the disease at issue.
That is one of the conclusions drawn from voluminous correspondence between members of the haredi community and city health officials obtained by The Jewish Week through a Freedom of Information Law request filed in October.