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New York Suburb Declares Measles Emergency, Barring Unvaccinated Children From Public

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“They’re taking all these susceptible kids and taking them out of circulation, in effect,” he said.

Officials are particularly worried because measles is among the most contagious of the infectious diseases. The virus can live for up to two hours in the airspace where an infected person has breathed, coughed or sneezed, and up to 90 percent of nonimmunized people who are exposed to the virus will also become infected, according to the C.D.C.

The M.M.R. vaccine, when given in two doses, is about 97 percent effective against measles.

Daniel Salmon, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the risk that the unvaccinated children would spread the disease to people who could not, for medical reasons or age, be vaccinated made Rockland County’s order reasonable.

“One could even argue they’re compelled to take action because they’re responsible for protecting the public,” he said.

Rockland County officials, Mr. Day said, do not plan on “chasing people down” and asking for proof that they are vaccinated. The prohibition will be enforced retroactively, with parents facing up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $500, or both, if they are found to have allowed unvaccinated children in public spaces.

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, the founding dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam in Monsey, N.Y., a community at the center of Rockland County’s measles outbreak, said he strongly supports vaccinations, but he is worried that the county’s declaration might lead to potential harassment, attacks and discrimination against ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Some public health law experts also expressed concern that the county’s order could infringe on civil liberties.

Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, said he found Rockland County’s emergency order deeply problematic.



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