PARTS of the US have declared a state of emergency over the ongoing measles outbreak – with cops warning anti-vaxxers now face court.
Rock County in New York state has also banned those under 18 years of age and NOT vaccinated against the disease from all public places.
Although police officers will not be patrolling the streets to check vaccination records, if someone is found to have dodged the jab their case will be referred to prosecutors.
Parents will also be held accountable for their children if they are found in violation of the newly-declared 30-day state of emergency.
Officials say there are no religious exemptions, and revealed they have already been working with local rabbis who have been encouraging their members to get vaccinated.
According to the emergency declaration, public places are defined as a place where more than 10 persons meet for purposes such as civic, governmental, social, or religious functions.
Places for recreation or shopping, or for food or drink consumption, or awaiting transportation, or for daycare or educational purposes, or for medical treatment are also included in the ban.
“As this outbreak has continued, our inspectors have begun to meet resistance from those they are trying to protect,” said Rockland County Executive Ed Day said.
“They have been hung up on or told not to call again. They’ve been told, ‘We’re not discussing this, do not come back’ when visiting the homes of infected individuals as part of their investigations.
“This type of response is unacceptable and irresponsible. It endangers the health and well-being of others and displays a shocking lack of responsibility and concern for others in our community.”
Day said the intention of the state of emergency isn’t to arrest people, but to educate the community and gain compliance.
“This is an opportunity for everyone in their community to do the right thing,” said Day.
The news comes after social media giants were told to do more to crack down on ‘damaging’ anti-vaccination myths, by UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
He said social networking sites, of which the biggest include Facebook and Twitter, must police the spread of anti-vaxxers’ propaganda.
Cases of measles in Europe have already reached an eight-year high – sparking a rise in the number of cases in the UK, health bosses have warned.
Anyone travelling in the continent is urged to make sure their vaccination against the disease is up to date to stop the illness from spreading.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned the number of cases of the highly infectious disease during 2018 have already outstripped any year since 2010.
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Across Europe there were more than 41,000 measles cases recorded during the first six months of 2018, including 37 deaths.
The WHO said the highest annual total for measles cases since 2010 was recorded in 2017 when 23,927 cases were identified.
The global health body said France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine have had more than 1,000 cases each so far in 2018.