EAST HARTFORD -- This Friday is the first day of summer and many parents will be enrolling their children into summer camps, but as the measles outbreak continues to grow across the country - health experts and camp organizers are urging parents to stay up to date with their child’s vaccinations.
Damaris Ruiz’s son has been attending summer camp for eleven years. She said she consistently keeps her son up to date with his immunizations but still worries about his health.
“I’m a little cautious on that side, I think of as a parent, I wouldn’t want my son to get sick and I wouldn't want him to be the cause of getting others kids sick,” Ruiz said.
Health experts said the virus can spread fast in areas of close proximity such as camps.
“These children are going to be in very close quarters, having a good time together, playing indoors on rainy days, and you just don’t want them to get sick, so I think it's important for children to be protected,” The Hospital of Central CT Dr. Virgina Bieluch said.
Officials agreed it's important to prevent the measles virus from traveling to and within camps.
“As an organization for the YMCA, we want to make sure that all of our kids are safe and healthy and so that’s why we follow our guidelines and why we are a licensed program, to make sure all of our kids are following the best practices recommended by the state of Connecticut,” VP of Program Development YMCA Greater Hartford Kristen Pollard said.
Many camps in Connecticut are licensed programs- meaning they follow the state’s guidelines - which requires children to be vaccinated but allow medical and religious exemptions.
According to the CDC, there have been more than 1,000 measles cases confirmed throughout 28 states - including Connecticut- so far this year.