Photo Credit: Pete Lewis / DFID image
Preparing a measles vaccine

Rockland County officials on Tuesday declared an end to the potentially lethal measles outbreak which started last October and affected 312 individuals, as well as court battles over some parents’ refusal to vaccinate their children, reported.

The outbreak began, according to county officials, when travelers from Israel had come to Rockland. The county was able to document the spread of the virus to areas where the visitors shopped and did business. According to the Rockland health department, about 80% of measles cases were in people 18 or younger, of whom almost 80% had no vaccinations for measles.


Rockland officials declared the outbreak is over in their county based on two incubation periods (42 days) that had passed since the last reported infection with no new measles cases reported.

On the same day, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday issued a health advisory for Pacific Island countries, warning that given the recent large-scale measles outbreaks in neighboring nations and the significant population movements between these countries and the Pacific, there is an increased risk of the measles virus being imported to the Pacific.

Since 2017, there has been a resurgence of measles cases in Australia, Cambodia, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam, all countries which are in an ongoing contact with the Pacific Island countries.

The Rockland County health department has partnered since October the New Square’s Refuah Health Center, as well as private pediatricians and family doctors, to administer 29,027 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations.

According to Rockland Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, “almost 1,200 residents were actively monitored to help contain the outbreak.” And Acting state Supreme Court Judge Rolf Thorsen issued an injunction banning unvaccinated children under 18 from indoor public spaces, including schools and synagogues.

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