Rockland County, N. Y., has 68 confirmed measles cases. New York City of Brooklyn is 24; Lakewood, N.J., at least 11.
According to US health officials, "culprits" are people who have recently returned from Israel and have unwittingly transmitted them.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, 1,401 cases of measles have been diagnosed in the country since the beginning of the year. One child died from illness.
Most of the American victims are – but not all – ultra-orthodox children whose parents have decided not to vaccinate them, believe that the vaccines are actually hazardous to health or can cause autism. They live in isolated religious Jewish bastions, such as Monsey, New Square, Williamsburg and Boro Park. Many in these communities often visit a family in Israel who also live in neighborhoods where the vaccination rate is well below the 95% rate in the rest of the country.
Cough is a highly contagious virus. The most common symptoms are red fever throughout the body and high fever. However, this involves accompanying cough and nasal discharge, which are most likely to infect others, as droplets are dripping or sneezing can be kept in the room up to two hours after the departure of the ill person.
Since the symptoms usually develop only 10-12 days after exposure, the infected person boarding the plane is unlikely to be aware of the potential danger to others – especially infants, elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic illness or suppressed immune system.
American Jewish news reports that health authorities in New York and New Jersey "are encouraging the exclusion of unvaccinated children from schools, kindergartens and living quarters in an outbreak area". Meanwhile, many religious schools and synagogues have become proactive, so unless they and their children were vaccinated, they may not be attending classes or services.
Great religious Jewish organizations, including the Orthodox Union and the Rabbi Council of America, as well as prominent rabbits in Chicago, New York and New Jersey, called on parents to immediately vaccinate their children as religious meanings for saving lives.
In Israel, senior rabbinists are also urging members of the ultra-Orthodox sector to get the necessary injections. "Anyone who is not vaccinated is a murderer," said one leaflet, signed by numerous rabbis. (Israeli news)