WESTCHESTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The measles outbreak has spread to Westchester and Sullivan counties following the spike in infections in Rockland County and the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
Measles has been confirmed in eight children ranging in age from 6 months to 14 years old, all of whom live in northern Westchester and were not vaccinated. Six of the infected children are siblings.
Two additional cases were confirmed in Sullivan County.
Most Westchester residents have never been to, and may not even know about, Nitra or nearby Kasho, secluded Hasidic enclaves that now have seen the county’s first cases of measles, reports CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
“I’m very upset that people have their own opinion and not immunizing the children and putting risk on other children who can get sick,” said Nitra Community Administrator Herschel Reich. “It’s very serious.”
Officials say none of the children attend public schools or go to childcare programs. The Westchester County Department of Health is working with the families and healthcare providers to identify locations where the children may have exposed others.
MEASLES HEALTH EMERGENCY RESOURCES
- NYC.gov Measles Information Page
- Where To Get Immunizations In New York City
- Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR)
- Signs And Symptoms
- CDC Measles Statistics
In the Westchester cases, officials said they all appear to have been exposed to measles in Rockland County and Brooklyn where there have been ongoing outbreaks.
“This is a matter where science triumphs over political science,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer.
“This is a matter of science and medicine and what is the right thing to do to protect the public health, and I would say that we all have our individual rights guaranteed to us under the Constitution,” he said. “Those personal right, however at some point in time, cross over and impact the rights of others, and when that happens, the public health has to be put at the highest premium.”
ACTIVE MEASLES INFECTIONS AS OF EARLY APRIL 2019
- New York City: 285 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens
- Elsewhere In New York: 176 in Rockland County, 17 in Orange County, 8 in Westchester County and 2 in Sullivan County
- In New Jersey: 4 in Monmouth County and 7 in Ocean County
With 228 confirmed cases, Williamsburg alone currently accounts for half of all measles infections in the United States this year.
Like in other areas impacted by measles outbreak, officials urged vaccinations as the only way to reign in the spread of infections.
“With the increasing number of measles cases in our surrounding area, I strongly urge all parents who have not vaccinated their children against measles to reconsider,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler. “Measles is airborne, it lasts in the air for hours after that person leaves the room.”
The county health department is offering free vaccinations, available by calling (914) 995-5800 for an appointment.
Web Extra: Westchester County Officials Announce Spread Of Measles
On Tuesday, New York City declared a public health emergency and mandated vaccinations for children and adults or risk facing a $1,000 fine.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order amid what he said was a measles crisis in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September. Officials blamed the outbreak on “anti-vaxxers” spreading false information.
In suburban Rockland County, a measles state of emergency turned into a state of confusion after a legal ruling last week.
Rockland officials are coming up with new restrictions that will comply with a judge’s order, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.
On Friday, Judge Rolf Thorsen put Day’s emergency order barring unvaccinated minors from public places on hold and allowed unvaccinated children at Green Meadow Waldorf School to return to class.
While Rockland County appeals, it is working on new restrictions. Any unvaccinated person who is exposed to measles must stay home for 21 days or face a possible fine. According to the judge, the number of measles cases in the county did not meet the legal requirement for an emergency order.
The county has seen 166 confirmed measles cases since October. The outbreak is almost entirely contained to the ultra-Orthodox community.