Measles vaccine

George Frey / Stringer

Rockland County Ends Measles State Of Emergency

July 25, 2019 - 1:19 pm
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NEW CITY, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Rockland County is allowing its measles state of emergency to expire at midnight.

County Executive Ed Day renewed the order three times in recent months but said he will allow it to expire because there have only been four new measles cases in the last two weeks.

"This outbreak began when seven unvaccinated travelers entered the United States, came to Rockland, and all settled in one small community in Rockland County," Day said. "It basically created a petri dish. That was the issue."

Since October, Rockland County has confirmed 283 cases, mostly in Jewish communities in Monsey and Spring Valley.

"This was the longest outbreak in U.S. of measles since it was eliminated in 2000," Day said. “While the State of Emergency is no longer in effect, and the outbreak has waned and is under control, our vigilance will not be compromised or slowed in any way. We will not allow this disease to again take root in our county whether it be due to administrative failures, an attitude that the law does not apply to all, or some misguided sense that the world revolves around you to the detriment of all.”

Health officials say Rockland residents stepped up to protect themselves and their neighbors with vaccinations numbers climbing to 25,876 since the start of the outbreak.

Amid the measles outbreak, which also prompted New York City's mayor to issue a mandatory vaccination order for several Brooklyn neighbords, state lawmakers approved a new law in June elminating religious exemptions for vaccinations.

Measles is a highly-contagious, airborne virus that easily spreads through coughing and sneezing. The virus can live for up to two hours in the air or on surfaces. It causes fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, followed by a rash. The disease can lead to pneumonia and encephalitis, which causes swelling of the brain.