The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 314 individual cases of measles in 2019
28 March, 2019, 04:41
Officials say the measles outbreaks offer a lesson about the importance of maintaining a minimum 95% "herd" level of immunization against unsafe, preventable diseases such as measles. Public places affected by the order include include shopping centers, businesses, restaurants, schools, and places of worship.
The county has been in the throes of a prolonged measles epidemic that has persisted despite attempts to change the minds of parents who opt not to vaccinate their children. "We are taking the next step in that endeavor today", Day said in a press release. "We want to encourage people to get vaccinated".
The outbreak began when a traveller visited Israel and returned to a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Rockland County.
Months later, the parents of more than 40 banned children at Green Meadow Waldorf School sued the Rockland County health department, asking a federal judge to allow the students to return to class.
"I'm very concerned about it because there are folks in this community, in this county, who will use this as an opportunity to be prejudiced", said Gary Siepser, CEO of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County, according to the Journal News.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Those found in violation could face legal consequences. "We are urging them once again, now with the authority of law, to get their children vaccinated".
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The New York Times reported that numerous cases were appearing in minority groups such as ultra-orthodox communities in Brooklyn.
Rockland County will declare a countywide State of Emergency in connection to the ongoing measles outbreak according to WPIX. By Mar. 26, there were 153 cases of measles in the county. Day said that they are also drafting legislation to better proactively protect the public during future outbreaks. Kids under 18 who haven't been immunized for measles, mumps, and rubella will be barred from entering public spaces.
The ban doesn't apply to anyone immune to measles as documented by a physician or prevented from receiving a measles vaccination for a medical reason documented by a physician, officials say.
The CDC says 15 states have had at least one case of measles confirmed in 2019, for a total of 314 cases to date.
Anyone told by a health care provider to "watch for measles" after possible exposure is advised to stay home and not go out in public, where they could expose others.
He stressed that the county isn't looking to jail parents: "That's not what we're meaning to do".
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