Medicine

State Of Emergency After Measles Outbreak In New York Suburb

State Of Emergency After Measles Outbreak In New York Suburb

Rockland County will declare a countywide State of Emergency in connection to the ongoing measles outbreak according to WPIX.

A whopping 314 reported cases of measles have been confirmed as of March 21 compared to 374 cases confirmed in all of 2018, according to the CDC.

Right now, less than 73 percent of people under 18 have been vaccinated against measles in Rockland County, Day said.

County Executive Ed Day said in a news conference on Tuesday that many Orthodox rabbis have been working with health officials to encourage vaccination in their community.

The ban begins at midnight tonight and is in effect for 30 days.

The emergency declaration bans unvaccinated minors from public gathering places, including restaurants, civic centers, houses of worship, shopping malls, and schools. In the early days of the outbreak, people were cooperating with health officials and getting children vaccinated, he said, but that has changed. "We must do everything in our power to end this outbreak and protect the health of those who can not be vaccinated for medical reasons and that of children too young to be vaccinated".

Day noted that this is the first effort of its kind nationally.

Police will not be out asking residents for vaccination records, but the parents of those found to have violated the state of emergency will be referred to the District Attorney's office and could face six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Dylan Skriloff, the editor of local newspaper the Rockland County Times, told the BBC the number of measles cases in the county had been increasing steadily in recent weeks.

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"Mr Day said there are 153 cases since last October, this year alone there's already about 50 cases".

In 2018, 17 outbreaks were reported throughout the USA, including six throughout New York State and three in New Jersey, most of which started in Orthodox Jewish communities in those states.

Almost 17,000 vaccinations have been administered in the county during the outbreak. Most of the cases now are clustered in eastern Ramapo, home to a high percentage of haredi Orthodox Jews.

The Department of Health will also begin offering free vaccination clinics on Wednesday.

The disease has spread mostly among school-age children whose parents declined to get them vaccinated, citing reasons such as philosophical or religious beliefs, or concerns the MMR vaccine could cause autism, authorities said.

The measles vaccination is 97 percent effective, according to health officials. This will help the facility take steps to ensure others won't be exposed to the virus. Measles was announced as eliminated as a public threat by health officials in 2000.

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Gary Siepser, CEO of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County, said the disease's spread was related to the anti-vaccine movement across the country.