Measles vaccine

John Meore/The Journal Newsv

Man Traveling From Brooklyn Accused Of Spreading Measles To 39 People In Michigan

April 16, 2019 - 2:56 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A man reportedly raising money for charity in Williamsburg is accused of spreading measles to 39 people in Michigan.

He's being called Michigan's "patient zero."

The man, who was visiting from Israel, saw a doctor after falling ill while traveling from Brooklyn to Detroit, the next stop on his fundraising trip.

But according to health officials in Oakland County -- a Detroit suburb -- the doctor had never seen measles and misdiagnosed the man's fever and cough as bronchitis, the Washington Post reported.

Over the next two weeks the man continued on with his trip, reportedly staying at private homes, attending synagogue daily and shopping at kosher markets.

Those infected with the virus in Michigan range in age from 8 months old to 63 years old.

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an order requiring residents of Williamsburg to receive mandatory measles vaccinations or face a $1,000 fine. A civil rights attorney is expected to file a lawsuit challenging the order.

The CDC reports there are 555 measles cases in 20 states -- the highest number in five years.

Measles is a highly-contagious, airborne virus that easily spreads through coughing and sneezing. The virus can live for up to two hours in the air or on surfaces. It causes fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, followed by a rash. The disease can lead to pneumonia and encephalitis, which causes swelling of the brain.