New York county declares measles outbreak emergency

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A county in New York state has declared a state of emergency following a severe outbreak of measles.Rockland County, on the Hudson river north of New York City, has barred unvaccinated children from public spaces after 153 cases were confirmed.

Violating the order will be punishable by a fine of $500 (£378) and up to six months in prison.The announcement follows other outbreaks of the disease in Washington, California, Texas and Illinois.Vaccination rates have dropped steadily in the US with many parents objecting for philosophical or religious reasons, or because they believe misleading information that vaccines cause autism in children.

Why has this county taken action?

The outbreak in Rockland County is largely concentrated in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, the New York Times reported. It is believed it could have spread from other predominantly ultra-Orthodox areas around New York which have already seen outbreaks of measles.Mr Day said health inspectors had encountered “resistance” from some local residents, which he branded “unacceptable and irresponsible”.

“They’ve been told ‘We’re not discussing this, do not come back’ when visiting the homes of infected individuals as part of their investigations,” he said.Dylan Skriloff, the editor of local newspaper the Rockland County Times, told the BBC the number of measles cases in the county had been increasing steadily in recent weeks.

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