unvaccinated children banned from public places in a suburb of New York



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New York (AFP)

Reached by a measles epidemic, a northern New York county has made the radical decision to declare a state of emergency and prohibit the entry of unvaccinated miners from public places against the disease.

The measure – which defines public places as any place that should gather more than 10 people, including means of transportation – was announced Tuesday by Rockland County Chief on its official website, then during a press release.

The ban, in effect since Tuesday at midnight and for 30 days, appears to be the most radical measure announced in the United States since measles has reappeared in several regions after resistance movements to vaccines.

"We must do everything in our power to extinguish this epidemic and protect the health of those who can not be vaccinated for medical reasons or very young children to be vaccinated," said Ed Day County Chief.

He lamented the "growing resistance" of some residents to health officials trying to protect them.

"We turn them off or tell them not to come back," said Day, describing such reactions as "unacceptable and irresponsible."

Rockland County, about 25 miles from New York, has more than 300,000 residents.

A measles epidemic has plagued the country since October when seven travelers arrived in the country, the longest outbreak of the disease since its official eradication in 2000, Day said.

The county has registered a total of 153 confirmed cases, he said. Despite intensive vaccination campaigns since the outbreak of the epidemic, about 27 percent of children between the ages of one and 18 are not yet vaccinated, he said.

"These numbers talk a lot about why the epidemic continues," Day said.

Neighborhoods most affected are neighborhoods with high Jewish orthodox populations: there are many vaccine opponents and often have links to orthodox communities in Brooklyn, also affected by the disease, according to the New York Times.

Many vaccines are theoretically mandatory in the United States to go to school. But 47 of the 50 states, including New York, allow exemptions, especially for "religious" reasons.

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