A county in the northern suburbs of New York City has declared a state of emergency on Tuesday because of an outbreak of measles that has infected more than 150 people since last year in the hope that the ban on unvaccinated children in public places wake up your parents. the severity of the problem.
"It's a catchy issue, there's no question about that," Rock Group County executive Ed Day said at a news conference, noting that he did not believe such a drastic step had been tried in the United States before.
Day said he was taking action in the hope of reversing a recent surge in cases amid disturbing reports that health professionals were finding resistance in investigating cases. The Rockland outbreak has most affected Orthodox Jewish communities, where vaccination rates tend to be lower.
According to the statement, which lasts for at least 30 days, anyone under the age of 18 who is not vaccinated is barred from public meeting places, including shopping malls, civic centers, schools, restaurants and even houses of worship. Those in violation could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison.
But Day acknowledged that there is no joint enforcement effort and that the intent is not to arrest people, but to emphasize the seriousness of the situation.
"There will be no police or delegates asking for immunization records. This is ridiculous, "said Day." However, parents will be held liable if they are found to be in violation of this emergency declaration. "
The county is experiencing the longest measles outbreak in New York since the disease was officially declared out of the United States in 2000. Health officials say the best way to prevent the spread of the disease is a vaccination rate in the community from 92 to 95%. Day said that only 72.9 percent of people under the age of 18 were vaccinated against measles in Rockland County, which has more than 300,000 residents.
The disease began in the area when seven unvaccinated travelers diagnosed with measles entered the county last October and have spread to 153 cases so far, Day said. In the early days of the outbreak, people were cooperating with health authorities and vaccinating the children, he said, but that has changed.
"Our health inspectors were turned off and told not to call again. They were told, "We're not discussing this, we're not coming back" by visiting the homes of infected individuals as part of their investigations, "Day said." Such responses are unacceptable and downright irresponsible. "
Citing an unprecedented "measles outbreak," a federal judge denied a parental request that 44 unvaccinated children return to a Waldorf school in Rockland County this month. On the same day, pediatric organizations expressed support for state legislation that would allow minors to be vaccinated without parental consent.
Democratic sponsors of state legislation have said many parents believe in unproven online allegations that vaccines are unsafe and cause autism or other conditions.
Day echoed this message, watching celebrities who demonstrated against the vaccines.
"If you're going to People magazine and Jenny McCarthy and Robert De Niro for your medical advice, you need to reevaluate your life," he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists six outbreaks of measles, defined as three or more cases, across the country in 2019, including Rockland County. The CDC said the outbreaks are linked to travelers who brought the disease back from other countries, such as Israel and Ukraine, where large outbreaks of measles are occurring.
There have been 181 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens since October, most involving members of the Orthodox Jewish community, according to the CDC.
The CDC says 15 states had at least one measles case confirmed in 2019, for a total of 314 cases so far. In 2014, 667 cases were confirmed nationwide and there were 372 cases in 2018.