Rockland County, NY, bans unvaccinated children in public amid measles outbreak

Rockland County declared a state of emergency over a measles outbreak. Part of the measure includes a ban unvaccinated minors from public places. The ban takes effect at midnight, March 27, 2019.

Anyone who is under the age of 18 and unvaccinated against the measles will be barred from public places until the emergency declaration expires in 30 days or until they receive the MMR vaccination.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day on Tuesday afternoon called the situation a "public health crisis."

The county health department said 151 confirmed cases of measles have been reported in Rockland County this year. 82% of those who have come down with measles have not had any MMR vaccinations. 4% had partial vaccinations, another 4% were fully vaccinated and the status of the other 10% was unknown.

Last week, a federal judge, citing an "unprecedented measles outbreak" in the suburban community, denied a request to let 44 unvaccinated children return to school.

On the same day, pediatric organizations expressed support for state legislation that would allow minors to get vaccinated without parental consent.

Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure. Measles typically begins with high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.

The U.S. has counted more measles cases in the first two months of this year than in all of 2017 -- and part of the rising threat is misinformation that makes some parents balk at a crucial vaccine, federal health officials told Congress Wednesday.

Yet the vaccine is hugely effective and very safe -- so the rise of measles cases "is really unacceptable," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health.

The disease was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, which means it was not being spread domestically. But cases have been rising in recent years, and 2019 is shaping up to be a bad one.