NYC Health Officials: Measles Outbreak Has Ended

Associated Press
September 03, 2019 - 10:44 am
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NEW YORK (AP) — The measles outbreak in Brooklyn is over.

New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said in a statement early Tuesday that an emergency declared earlier this year has been lifted, but warns there's still a threat of infection. She is urging New Yorkers to get their children immunized before the new school year.

“Measles is one of the most contagious diseases on the face of the earth,” said Barbot. “There may no longer be local transmission of measles in New York City, but the threat remains given other outbreaks in the U.S. and around the world. Our best defense against renewed transmission is having a well immunized city. Vaccination coverage has increased significantly since the emergency order, which has been supported by community-led efforts. We are grateful to the New Yorkers who shared the truth about vaccines and protected the health of their friends and neighbors through this outbreak.”

During the outbreak, the city had ordered residents in four largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in the borough to get vaccinated or else face possible fines.

The emergency order, which was declared in April, was lifted because two incubation periods since the last reported cases have passed without any new infections.

“Ending the measles outbreak required extensive collaboration with community organizations and Jewish leaders. They helped encourage vaccinations and achieve record immunization levels in parts of Brooklyn,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “As we head back to school this week, we just remain vigilant. To keep our children and communities safe, I urge all New Yorkers to get vaccinated. It’s the best defense we have.” 

There had been more than 650 cases of measles reported since October 2018. It was the largest measles outbreak in New York City in nearly three decades. 

Meanwhile, Westchester County is offering students free MMR vaccines at clinics in White Plains and Yonkers as the school year begins.

Both public and private school students have 14 days from the first day of school to show proof that they have had their proper vaccines. New this year is the elimination of the religious exemption for vaccinations.

WCBS880.com contributed to this report.