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FOCUS-Swimming pool, camping fires and vaccines: camps tighten rules against measles in the US t

NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) – Summer camps in the US are tightening their vaccine policies and some are even willing to refuse children whose parents have chosen not to vaccinate against measles on a time when the country is fighting your worst case of the disease in 25 years.

Image of an immunization form at Rosmarins Day Camp and Cottages in Monroe, New York. 20 May, 2019.
REUTERS / Mike Segar

With an expected presence of more than 10 million children next summer, camp and industry association owners are urging parents to follow the advice of medical experts to stop their leisure centers becoming leisure centers. transmitting highly infectious diseases and, sometimes, deadly diseases.

Scott Rosmarin, whose family has been operating Rosmarins Day Camp in Monroe, New York for three generations, said he had sent a warning letter to families in previous camps that would deny children if their parents were; n arguing against the religious or philosophical objections.

"I used to accept children if they had a religious exception, but not now," Rosmarin said in a telephone interview from his camp in the Hudson Valley, about 80 kilometers to the north of New York City. "If I lose a couple of people, I miss them (…) You have to do the right thing."

Rosmarin has particular reasons for worry. The State of New York represents the majority of the nearly 900 new cases of measles reported in the US this year, with cases concentrating on the Brooklyn area and Rockland County.

Health experts have described it as "totally avoidable" the rapid spread of the disease, which affected the State 25 this week, with a case to be confirmed in Maine.

Experts attribute the ongoing infection to a disregard for the vaccine in a group of parents who believe it could cause autism, although medical science has disturbed this concern.

New York National Health Department sent a warning about the virus last month to the 2,550 licensed summer camps.

The letter, which Reuters had access to, included a "high recommendation" for anyone working or attending these centers to receive the measles vaccine, a disease; The head and rubella, which gives immunity to the virus. disease

Health officials in the other six states where the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitor active cases to Reuters who have not taken similar action.


However, Kelley Freridge, spokesman for the American Camp Association, said camps around the country had asked local health departments for advice to take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of the disease.

"This year in particular, as in schools and other places, camps are very strict about licenses for children without immunization," said Susie Lupert, executive director of New York and New Jersey camping society.

At the national level, the group accredits some 3,100 camps receiving around 10.3 million children a year. That represents only a fraction of the total number of camps, ranging from historic lakeside properties in New England, where children live in chalets, to facilities focused on specific sports and local day centers. with crafts and songs.

The Camping Nurses Association published a letter on their website this month warning that all people in the centers must be fully immunized unless they have a medical exemption.

Summer camps are subject to a mosaic of state regulations, many of which do not indicate whether they can accept children who have not received measles vaccine for non-medical reasons.

Some are unregulated. New York's National Health Department regulates overnight camps and camps offering a number of activities during the day, but state law excludes camps focusing on one activity, such as theater, music or sport. .

Ben Esposito, director of Alvernia Camp at Centerport, New York, said a couple of families had already left the camp since the latest vaccine policy was sent.

He also noted that it was worth losing a business to protect his 3 year old campers, too young to receive the second recommended dose of the MMR and particularly vulnerable to infection.

"It's very easy to stop people," he said. "We really appreciate the health and safety of children."

It has been edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano

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