Unvaccinated children face ban on public space in New York measles outbreak


A New York suburb banned unvaccinated children from measles from public spaces such as schools and shopping malls as it fights the worst outbreak in decades of potentially deadly disease.

Rockland County has declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and said the ban will remain in effect for 30 days or until unvaccinated children receive the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Rockland's announcement follows measles outbreaks in California, Illinois, Texas and Washington and is part of a global resurgence of viral infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We're not going to sit idly by while the children in our community are at risk," executive Ed Ed said in a statement. "This is a public health crisis and it's time to sound the alarm."

There were 153 confirmed cases of measles in Rockland County, about 11 miles north of Manhattan, especially among children who were not vaccinated.

The ban starts at midnight, after which unvaccinated children will not be allowed in places such as places of worship, schools and malls. Outdoor spaces such as playgrounds are excluded from the ban. Persons who are medically incapable of being vaccinated are exempt.

The outbreak began when a traveler visited Israel and returned to a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Rockland County. There have also been at least 181 confirmed measles cases in New York and Brooklyn districts since October, especially among Orthodox Jews, according to the city's health department.

The outbreaks in New York and Washington began after the Americans took measles in foreign countries where the disease was running wild and took it back to places where vaccination rates were too low for US public health standards .

The disease spread mainly among school-aged children whose parents refused to vaccinate them, citing reasons such as philosophical or religious beliefs, or concerns about the MMR vaccine that can cause autism, authorities said.

Large scientific studies have shown that there is no link between vaccines and autism.

Authorities say measles outbreaks offer a lesson on the importance of maintaining a minimum level of immunization of 95% against several dangerous and preventable diseases, such as measles. Rates of up to 60 percent have been found in parts of New York where measles has spread, said state health commissioner Howard Zucker in February.


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