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A measles outbreak is spreading throughout a Washington county recognized for selecting to not vaccinate its youngsters, and well being officers have declared a public well being emergency.
USA TODAY

The variety of circumstances of measles this yr in america is nearing the full for all of final yr, with 5 states reporting outbreaks in 2019, in response to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

An outbreak, outlined as three or extra circumstances, has been reported in New York State, New York Metropolis, Washington, Texas, Illinois and California.

The 314 circumstances nationwide as of March 21 is inching nearer to the 372 for all of final yr.

In Rockland County, simply north of New York, the place 155 circumstances have been confirmed as of Wednesday, County Government Ed Day declared a state of emergency this week, banning any unvaccinated particular person beneath 18 from showing in a public place. Violations are punishable by a $500 nice or six months in jail.

The ban, which can be in impact for 30 days, prompted a backlash from a small group of anti-vaccination advocates who protested Thursday on the Palisades Middle mall in West Nyack in what they dubbed on Fb a “Rockland County — Unvaccinated Civil Disobedience.”

“That is about wholesome folks being quarantined and barred from public locations,” stated Rita Palma, one of many protesters. “Individuals have a proper to decide on for their very own youngsters and make their very own choices.”

On this file picture a medical employee holds a measles-rubella (MR) vaccine. (Picture: CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN, AFP/Getty Photos)

Rockland county says the outbreak can be traced to September 2018, with the arrival of an international traveler with a suspected case.

Infectious disease experts described such broad bans of minors from public places as a potentially unprecedented government action in combating a measles outbreak.

“It’s not something that I’ve seen before in my professional experience,” said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, a top public-health officer in Seattle, Washington. “What that says to me is that the local public-health people feel that they have an extraordinary outbreak on their hands.”

The CDC blames the outbreaks across the country on two factors: An increase in the number of travelers who bring measles back from abroad, notably Israel and Ukraine, and what it calls the “further spread of measles in U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.”

New York City Health says most of the 214 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community. Many of the children from Orthodox Jewish families attend religious schools where vaccination rates may have been below the 95 percent threshold considered necessary to maintain immunity, according to Kaiser Health News. 

NYC health says the initial case that triggered the outbreak in the area involved an unvaccinated child who picked up the disease on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring.

Aside from New York, the measles outbreaks is reported in Washington state,  Texas, , Illinois,  and California.

Before the measles vaccine program began in the United States in 1963, measles infected as many as 4 million people a year. Nearly 50,000 were hospitalized and from 400 to 500 people died each year. In 2000, after almost 40 years of the vaccine program, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S., the CDC reports.

Robert Kennedy Jr., left, stands with participants at a rally held in opposition to a proposed bill that would remove parents’ ability to claim a philosophical exemption to opt their school-age children out of the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, on Feb. 8, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP)

Now, people choosing not to vaccinate have become a global health threat, WHO reported. The CDC recognized that the number of children who aren’t being vaccinated by 24 months old has been gradually increasing. 

Many anti-vaccination activists believe there is a link between the vaccine and autism. Others believe that a decision on vaccination is up to parents, not the government.

A new decade-long study in Denmark of more than half a million people found that the measles vaccine does not increase the risk of autism, further reinforcing what the medical community has long been saying about preventative shots. 

Before the latest report, the autism-vaccine link has long been discredited, as official groups including the CDC reported no proven link and no ingredients in vaccines that could cause autism. Still a minority of parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children. And, legislation continues to be introduced in favor of the anti-vaxx movement. 

Major health and medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, support vaccines as safe and effective.

“While these parents undoubtedly have their children’s best interests at heart, they are putting them, and everyone else at risk, and there are public health consequences,” according to a statement from Dr. Aaron Glatt, an Infectious Diseases Society of America spokesman.

Contributing: Ashley May; Rochel Leah Goldblatt, Nancy Cutler, David Robinson and Matt Spillane, Rockland/Westchester Journal News

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