New York City declares measles outbreak over

Henrietta Brewer
September 5, 2019

Since the outbreak, there have been 52 measles-related hospitalizations and 16 admissions to intensive care. The city also could see future measles cases emerge that are not associated with this outbreak. The majority of the cases, 72 percent, occurred in the four Brooklyn neighborhoods. "They helped encourage vaccinations and achieve record immunization levels in parts of Brooklyn", de Blasio said.

Those measures have been lifted, but a NY state law passed in June outlawing religious exemptions that had allowed parents to circumvent school-mandated vaccination remains in place.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of August 29, 1,234 cases of measles infection were reported across the country since 2018, marking the greatest number in a single year since 1992. That prompted an emergency order mandating that almost everyone in those neighborhoods get vaccinated or face possible fines.

Health honchos declared the city's largest outbreak of the highly contagious airborne pathogen in nearly three decades over after no new cases were reported in 42 days - twice the time it takes from the moment someone is exposed to the virus to when they exhibit their first symptoms, according to the Health Department. "Our message is clear: we implore New Yorkers to make sure they and their children are up-to-date on vaccinations".

No new cases have been reported since mid-July. Only one of the cases, it said, was "recently ill".

Measles outbreaks are normally declared over after two incubation periods (42 days) have passed since the last infectious day.

New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot called on New Yorkers to continue to have their children immunized, however. This marks the end of the largest measles outbreak New York City has seen in almost three decades.

She said vaccination coverage has increased significantly since the city's emergency vaccination order.

"Staying up to date on vaccines is the best way for people to protect the health and safety of their friends, family and neighbors", Barbot said. Around 73 percent of the individuals were unvaccinated, according to the city's health department.

In June, New York State lawmakers revoked the religious and personal-belief exemptions for vaccines.

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