State of emergency over measles outbreak goes into effect in Rockland NY

State of emergency over measles outbreak goes into effect in Rockland NY

Vaccination rates have dropped steadily in the United States with many parents objecting for philosophical or religious reasons, or because they believe misleading information that vaccines cause autism in children.

The emergency declaration bans unvaccinated minors from public gathering places, including restaurants, civic centers, houses of worship, shopping malls, and schools. On Tuesday, Rockland County Executive Ed Day said their response to the outbreak is likely "the first such effort of this kind".

The anti-vaxxer movement has gained momentum over recent years, but, as some parents choose not to get their children vaccinated, it's the community as a whole that faces the consequences.

Anyone under the age of 18 without an MMR vaccine is banned from entering public places for 30 days. Outdoor locations like parks and sidewalks are not covered.

"Our goal is not to prosecute anyone", said John. Those in violation could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. Most of the affected kids had not received a vaccination. Frustrated health officials said the outbreak should have been contained by now, but they blame people wandering around in public while contagious. "Our health inspectors have been hung up on, or told not to call again".

"They've been told "We're not discussing this, do not come back" when visiting the homes of infected individuals as part of their investigations," he said. "It endangers the health and well-being of others, and displays a shocking lack of responsibility and concern for others in our community".

The county is bracing for a likely legal challenge to the order. Attorney Michael Sussman represents the parents of those 44 children and said he might challenge the county's emergency declaration, reported the news agency. In New York, outbreaks have been reported in New York City and in Rockland County.

The measles outbreak has also been especially hard on the area's Orthodox Jewish community, which tends to have a lower vaccination rate.

Officials in New York City, which is also dealing with a historic measles outbreak, similarly excluded unvaccinated children from attending their Brooklyn yeshivas, or religious schools. The schools are now in compliance, the department said Wednesday.

Much of the measles cases in NY have been concentrated among children of Orthodox Jewish families, many of whom attend religious schools where the vaccination rates are below 95 percent, which is the threshold considered necessary to maintain immunity among the community, known as herd immunity, according to Kaiser Health News.

But anti-vaccine groups have spread misinformation in the community, including through a parent handbook and telephone hotline.

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