Visitors have been banned from a federal prison camp in New York after one showed up with the measles, authorities said Friday.
No inmates or staff at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville have been diagnosed with the disease, which has spawned outbreaks in several U.S. cities because of low vaccination rates.
The Bureau of Prison said in a statement that the minimum-security facility “is taking necessary precautions to protect staff, inmates and the community from the possibility of being exposed to measles. Any unvaccinated staff or inmates are being offered the measles vaccine.”
In the meantime, however, visits to the prison’s satellite camp, which has 118 inmates, have been suspended. News of the suspension was first reported by Yeshiva World, which said it was sparked by a measles-infected child from Brooklyn visiting his father.
Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community is in the midst of a major outbreak that started when an unvaccinated child traveled to Israel and came back with the highly contagious virus. More than 200 people have since been infected.
In Rockland County, N.Y., where dozens in the Orthodox Jewish community have contracted measles, officials declared a state of emergency banning any unvaccinated children from public places.
There are also outbreaks in the Pacific Northwest and in Oakland County, Michigan. Nationwide, the number of measles cases in the first three months of 2019 is already higher than the number in all of 2018.
Health officials agree that a growing anti-vaxxer movement fueled by debunked conspiracy theories is partly to blame for the spread of a disease considered eradicated more than 15 years ago.