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Measles - NYC Health Special Edition

Recent Infections in Brooklyn and Queens
As of April 8, 2019, there have been 285 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens since October. Most of these cases have involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community.
The initial child with measles was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring. Since then, there have been additional people from Brooklyn and Queens who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel. People who did not travel were also infected in Brooklyn or Rockland County.
The neighborhoods that are affected include:
  • Bensonhurst: 1 confirmed measles case (no additional cases since November 2018)
  • Borough Park: 49 confirmed measles cases (no additional cases in the past week)
  • Brighton Beach: 1 travel-related case
  • Crown Heights: 1 (no additional cases in the past week)
  • Midwood/Marine Park: 3 confirmed measles cases (no additional cases in the past week)
  • Williamsburg: 228 confirmed measles cases (26 additional cases in the past week)
  • Flushing: 2 confirmed cases (no additional cases in the past week)
Vaccination Requirement
On April 9, the Health Commissioner ordered (PDF) every adult and child who lives, works or resides in Williamsburg and has not received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to be vaccinated. People who demonstrate they are immune from measles or should be medically exempt from this requirement will not need to get vaccinated.
If the Health Department identifies a person with measles or an unvaccinated child exposed to measles in Williamsburg, that individual or their parent or guardian could be fined $1,000.

Measles is a virus that causes fever and a rash. It is highly contagious and anyone who is not vaccinated against the virus can get it at any age.
Although measles is rare in the United States because of high vaccination rates, it is still common in other parts of the world. Measles is common in some countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa and is occasionally brought into the Unites States by unvaccinated travelers who return with measles infection.
Measles is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. A person will start being contagious four days before a rash appears. They will stop being contagious four days after the rash appears.
The virus remains active and contagious on surfaces for up to two hours.


Symptoms usually appear 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. In some cases, symptoms may start as early as seven days or as late as 21 days.
 Early symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes
Three to five days after initial symptoms, a rash of red spots appears on the face that then spreads over the entire body.
Anyone can become infected with measles, but the virus is more severe in infants, pregnant women and people whose immune systems are weak. Complications of measles include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infections
  • Pneumonia (infection of the lungs)
  • Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
  • Premature birth or low-birth-weight in pregnancy
  • Death


Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles. Anyone who has received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine is highly unlikely to get measles.

MMR Vaccine

A child should get a measles vaccine on or after their first birthday. The vaccine is combined with mumps and rubella vaccines into one vaccine called MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). A second dose of MMR vaccine is recommended before children enter school at 4 to 6 years of age. Infants ages 6 to 11 months should also receive MMR vaccine before travelling internationally.
Anyone born after January 1, 1957, who has not received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine, or who does not have a blood test proving that they are already immune to measles, should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine.
For information on where you or your child can get vaccinated, call 311.

Measles - NYC Health

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