NY County Declares State of Emergency Due to Measles Outbreak

Rockland County, N.Y., has declared a state of emergency after a local measles outbreak entered its 26th week.

A state of emergency has been declared in Rockland County, N.Y. after a local outbreak of measles entered its 26th week—the longest since the disease was eradicated in the United States in 2000, according to New York officials. The outbreak began after seven unvaccinated travelers with measles entered Rockland County in early October, according to Rockland County Executive Ed Day. There were 153 confirmed cases of the disease as of March 26.

Rockland County also has banned children who are unvaccinated against the measles from public places. The ban bars persons younger than 18 who are unvaccinated against the measles from public places until they receive the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

The ban will expire in 30 days, and those unable to be vaccinated due to documented and confirmed medical reasons are exempt from the ban.

"We believe this to be the first such effort of this kind nationally and the circumstances we face here clearly call for that," Day said. "Rockland will lead the way in service and safety to the people here."

Measles is a highly contagious disease, transmitted by airborne particles, droplets, and direct contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person. It usually presents in adults and children as an acute viral illness characterized by fever and generalized rash. The rash lasts several days and usually begins on the face, moves down the body, and may include the palms and soles. Infected individuals are contagious from four days before the rash appears through the fourth day after the rash appears.

Rockland County officials encourage everyone to be up-to-date with the MMR vaccine to help protect them against any future exposure to measles. County health officials have urged those who are ill with a fever, rash, or conjunctivitis to stay home, not have visitors, and not go out in public.

The Rockland County Department of Health is working with the New York State Department of Health on its measles response.

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