A major measles outbreak that first started in October has continued into the new year, with 62 confirmed cases in Brooklyn. The cases all involve members of the Orthodox Jewish community, several of whom acquired the disease while traveling in Israel, health officials said.
The city Department of Health announced last week that there were 62 confirmed cases of measles as of Jan. 23, four of which occurred just in the past two weeks.
Most cases were found in either Borough Park, which has 36 confirmed cases, or Williamsburg, which has 24. Both those neighborhoods saw two new cases in the last two weeks.
“The initial child with measles was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring,” the Department of Health said. “Since then, there have been additional children from Brooklyn who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel. Children who did not travel were also infected in Brooklyn or Rockland County.”
The disease spread is part of a larger outbreak of measles across the country and in New York, where 124 confirmed cases were recently confirmed in Rockland County. There are also outbreaks in Oregon and Washington state, where a public health emergency was declared.
Bensonhurst and Midwood/Marine Park also each had one confirmed measles case, health officials said, though both neighborhoods haven’t seen any new cases since November.
When the cases first started popping up in October and November, city health officials sent notifications to schools, providers and hospitals with large Orthodox Jewish populations to raise awareness about vaccinations.
“If you plan to travel to Israel, protect yourself and your family against measles and get vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at least two weeks in advance of your trip,” the department wrote in the most recent announcement.
Those who have traveled to Israel and notice they have a fever, cough, red eyes, runny nose and body rash should contact their doctor, officials said. They should also call the doctor before going into the office to avoid spreading the disease.