Measles outbreak in U.S. raises concerns over unvaccinated population

A nurse prepares the measles mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department recently

We learn about how low vaccination rates can put vulnerable members of our community in danger.

The mayor's order, announced Tuesday, mandated that everyone who lives, works or attends school in the affected area get immunized against the disease within 48 hours or face a $1,000 fine.

Sussman also represented a group of parents in suburban Rockland County who challenged the county executive's order barring unvaccinated children from indoor public spaces.

Last week saw a minor victory for vaccination advocates amid the United States' ongoing measles outbreak: A Kentucky judge ruled against a lawsuit filed by 18-year-old Jerome Kunkel against the Northern Kentucky Health Department, claiming the department had discriminated against Kunkel by asking schools to exclude students not vaccinated for chicken pox from school and extracurricular activities.

Since October she has been fighting an uphill battle to quell one of the worst USA measles outbreaks in 20 years.

The spreading anti-vaccination movement has contributed to 285 confirmed cases, including 21 requiring hospitalization, since the outbreak began this fall.

Anyone who has not been vaccinated in Westchester may call the health department for a free injection - 914-995-5800 for an appointment.

Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, the health commissioner of an outlying NY suburban county, is feeling "overwhelmed".

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"This is a public health emergency", the Democratic mayor said. Presently, New York City is considered as the "epicentre of Measles" and this situation should be handled. "It's not just that they know what questions to ask". Protection against an infectious disease will occur only if at least 93 percent of a child's community is vaccinated.

Measles is highly contagious, infecting up to 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to it, the CDC said. "Most people do vaccinate their kids, it has nothing to do with religion".

"We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk", said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot from the NYC Health Department.

Meanwhile, the Rockland County outbreak is believed to have exposed children in Westchester County. Six of the children are siblings.

"When individuals are not vaccinated, there is a high likelihood of catching the disease", Sheffield said.

When parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they endanger not only their own child, but also the entire society which surrounds them. And so they're subjecting their children to a painful illness with high fevers and rash that has already hospitalized 10 percent of those who've contracted it in NY, including five who were serious enough to need intensive care.

At a time when Rockland County is attempting to get a grip on the measles epidemic and efforts to convince unvaccinated residents to get the MMR shots, new cases of the virus have been confirmed in adjacent counties.

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