ALBANY, NY (AP) – The battle to contain the worst American measles outbreak of 27 years has a new front: summer camp.
Vaccinations have become mandatory this summer for campers and staff in several counties north of New York City who annually fill up children from the Orthodox Jewish communities most affected by measles.
Ulster County took extra steps to authorize measles vaccine or evidence of immunity throughout the day's camp and overnight camp and became the latest county in the area to issue immunization requirements. Rockland County announced a similar order this month, following a mandate from Sullivan and Orange County.
"We have to make sure our t is crossed and our I am dotted to make sure all these vaccination data are present and have been fine-tuned by making sure everything matches," says Rabbi Hanoch Hecht, Ulster County's Camp Emunah, who host of many girls from a Chabad community in Brooklyn's heights.
"Earlier we accepted religious exceptions for some things," said Hecht, who gets his own blood controlled for immunity, "now we can't". [1
Children are obliged to have measles vaccines go to schools in New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation on Thursday , eliminating an exception for children whose parents oppose vaccination on religious grounds.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Reported e that from June 1, more than 1,000 measles cases were reported in the US since the beginning of the year, from fewer than 100 cases a year a decade ago. Most of these cases have been diagnosed in ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn and suburb of Rockland County.
The CDC recommends that all over one year should receive the vaccine except for people who had the disease as a child. Those who have had measles are immune.
The vaccine, which became available in the 1960s, is considered safe and highly effective – paves the way for measles to explain everything except eliminated in the United States in 2000. But it has had a repetition several times, including 667 cases in 2014.  Hecht and others stressed that vaccinations are widely accepted by most members of the Orthodox community and echo rabbis in Brooklyn and Rockland County who say it is a relatively small group of parents who are affected by anti-vaccination propaganda – not religious teachings – that have resisted inoculations.
The Orthodox Union said it had previously called for current vaccinations, including the MMR vaccine, for its 37 summer programs.
"Most leaders and rabbis have taken the approach of vaccination required," Hecht said.
Health lovers in New York City have taken a tough approach that makes measles vaccinations mandatory for anyone living in the Brooklyn neighborhood who is the epicenter of the outbreak, scolding people for not being inoculated and closing 12 schools so as not to exclude staff and students not could document immunity. The city announced the last two closures on Thursday.
Now that schools are preparing to close for the summer, the battle in the Catskills and the Hudson River Valley fights.
Sullivan County is in the heart of the traditional Borscht Belt, and the sea-laden area still attracts thousands to its camps and bungalow colonies every summer. Of the 170 state-regulated camps in the county, 139 are orthodox Jewish camps.
"We're pulling such a population from New York City, where this measles outbreak was," says Sullivan's county spokesman Dan Hust. "It was considered gentle and wise."
Not everyone agrees. The orders from Sullivan and Orange County were challenged in state courts by parents of various religious beliefs. But civil lawyer Michael Sussman said Friday believes these cases have to be withdrawn in view of New York's removal of religious exceptions.
Several location administrators interviewed by The Associated Press expressed no objection to mandatory vaccinations.
"We have no problem with that," says Yoel Landau, head of Camp Rav Tov, a camp for Hasidic boys in Monticello. Landau said that schoolchildren from New York, who should camp, should have been vaccinated because of the city's orders In April,
Rabbi Dovid Teichman, head of Camp Govoah, targeting Orthodox campers in Greene County, said employees "combed through each application to ensure everyone was vaccinated. "[Icannotendangeranyone"hesaid"SoifIfindsomeoneonthelistwhodoesnotvaccinateIwillnottakethemtothecamp"
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