Rockland County, New York Declares State of Emergency After Measles Outbreak

Unvaccinated minors are barred from public spaces in a New York county after a measles outbreak prompted a state of emergency. The declaration aims to contain a severe measles outbreak that has plagued Rockland County since October. 153 cases have been confirmed in the county.

County Executive Ed Day gave the order, which will pull approximately 6,000 unvaccinated kids out of schools. Day called this order the “first of its kind” and a necessary step after a public health campaign and mass vaccinations failed to contain the outbreak.

“This is a public health crisis, and it is time to sound the alarm and take the appropriate action,” he stated. “If you are found to be in violation of this declaration, your case will be referred to the district attorney’s office.”

According to health officials, the outbreak has been largely concentrated in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities both in Rockland and Brooklyn. Public health officials say both communities have lower vaccination rates and have seen a spread of anti-vaccination literature.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that is prevented with the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR). According to the CDC, the two-dose vaccine should be given once between 12-15 months and again between the ages of four to six. When given in two doses, the MMR vaccine is 97% effective.