Measles outbreak officially declared over in Rockland

Posted: Updated:

Rockland County officials declared the end of the measles outbreak Wednesday.

“We needed to wait for two incubation periods of 21 days, or 42 days since the last rash onset, in order to declare this good news,” says Rockland County Health Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert.

County Executive Ed Day says officials were careful to assure the end of the outbreak before making the announcement. “We feel very confident we have followed all the rules. We did not declare victory until we had it,” he says.

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The first measles case in Rockland County was reported on Oct. 1, 2018, nearly a year ago.

Since then, 312 cases had been reported in Rockland, which became part of the largest measles outbreak in New York state since 1992.

Health officials say the outbreak occurred mostly among unvaccinated people. They estimate that, since the outbreak, close to 30,000 vaccinations have been administered— three times the area's annual rate.

Rockland County officials say they got control of the outbreak through vaccinations and the emergency order, which forced anyone with measles or anyone who has been in contact with an infected person to stay out of public places.

They also credit the new legislation that prohibits families from claiming religious exemptions from immunizations.

The outbreak cost the county $3 million in total, which Day says won't affect taxpayers due to a county surplus.

Officials say a case of the measles could still pop up, especially if parents don't vaccinate children on the time frame recommended by pediatricians.

The Rockland County Health Department continues to offer clinics for MMR shots.

Even though the outbreak is over in Rockland County, the CDC says it is still concerned the U.S. could lose its elimination status as the measles continues to spread elsewhere nationwide.

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