New York Declares Measles Public Health Emergency, Requiring Vaccinations

New York Declares Measles Public Health Emergency, Requiring Vaccinations

photo credit: Zerbor // Shutterstock

Last month, the county of Rockland, New York started banning unvaccinated people over the age of 18 from public places in an effort to contain the measles outbreak that began in October. The outbreak began when an unvaccinated resident got infected while visiting Israel, retiring home with the disease. Mostly affecting observant Jewish communities in Brooklyn.

As of Wednesday (April 10), New York City has reported 285 confirmed cases since the outbreak began in the fall; 21 of those cases led to hospitalizations, including five admissions to the intensive care unit.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a public health emergency that would require unvaccinated individuals living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to receive the measles vaccination. The city will issues violations and possibly fines of $1,000 to those who do not comply.

Measles is highly contagious can can be prevented with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The city tried education and outreach but the anti-vaccination movement is on the rise.

“We’re not punishing the people who are doing the right thing already and following the rules. We just want to encourage everyone to do the right thing so we can stop this outbreak,” Rockland County’s Lyon said. The step is “extremely unusual. [We] don’t believe it’s been done anywhere in the country before.”

“State law gives health departments authority to broadly implement control measures in response to outbreaks,” Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in an email, noting that the CDC provides technical assistance to state and local health departments.

The CDC recommends that the two-dose vaccine be given first at 12 to 15 months of age and then between ages 4 and 6.

Written by Clarke Jones

Source: New York Times

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