WEDNESDAY, Sept. 4, 2019 — The New York City measles outbreak is over and the public health emergency that was declared on April 9 for parts of Brooklyn has ended, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.
It was the largest outbreak in New York City in nearly three decades. Since it began in October 2018, 654 people were diagnosed with measles. There have been 52 measles-related hospitalizations and 16 admissions to intensive care due to measles complications.
Most of the cases (525 or 80%) were diagnosed in people younger than 18, and most cases were among unvaccinated (73%) or incompletely vaccinated (7%) people, or among those who did not know their vaccination status (15%).
Most of the cases (72%) occurred in the Williamsburg neighborhood.
Measles outbreaks are typically declared over when two incubation periods for measles (42 days) have passed since the last infectious day of the last people with measles in an affected area, according to a city news release.
That amount of time has passed for the people most recently infected with measles and reported to the Health Department. No new measles cases have been reported since mid-July.
“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,” de Blasio said in the news release.
“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,” he added.
“Measles is one of the most contagious diseases on the face of the earth,” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in the news release.
“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,” Barbot warned.
“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,” Barbot said.
New York State recently ended non-medical exemptions for vaccinations required for school children.