Officials urge vaccination as measles cases hit highest total since 1994

1010 WINS Newsroom
April 29, 2019 - 12:04 pm
Measles vaccine

Markell DeLoatch, Public Opinion

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The CDC is out with its latest measles tally.

There have been 704 confirmed cases reported in 22 states. New York has the most with Hasidic communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County.

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No one has died from contracting measles, but the CDC says 66 people have been hospitalized.

The latest tally makes 2019, the worst year for measles since 1994 when there were 963 reported cases.

The setback looms especially large since measles had been declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000.

"CDC continues outreach to rabbinical camps and medical associations to help spread clear, consistent, and credible vaccine information through trusted sources," CDC vaccine expert Dr. Nancy Messonnier explained.

Local officials have been looking to Albany for an end to religious exemptions to vaccinations.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Commissioner of Health Patricia Ruppert want lawmakers to pass legislation that would repeal exemptions except when medically necessary.

"This needs to be done, not tomorrow, not in a week, not in a month, it must be done immediately. The numbers are gaining strength. A few months ago there was no talk of a measles outbreak except for in pockets of Rockland County and Washington. Now we have 22 states affected. Immediacy of action is critical," Day said.

Rockland County has seen more than 200 cases of measles.

“A child may die because of this religious exemption,” Sen. Brad Hoylman warned. “The bill I’m sponsoring will end all non-medical exemptions, so we would close that loophole… This loophole is being exploited by people misled by anti-vaxxers.”

Last year New York granted religious exemptions to 26,000 students.

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