What to Know
- Six children in the Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg have been diagnosed with measles this month, the city health department says
- One of them had picked it up in Israel, where a large outbreak is occurring, and exposed others to the highly contagious disease upon return
- Anyone who may have been exposed to the disease should contact their healthcare provider or local clinic before they seek treatment
Six children in Brooklyn have been diagnosed with measles after one of them apparently returned from Israel with the highly contagious disease and exposed others to it, city health officials say.
The New York City Health Department says the child had gone to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring, and returned to the Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, where five others have since been diagnosed with measles this month.
The six children range in age from 11 months to 4 years old. Five of the kids were unvaccinated before being exposed, including four because vaccination was delayed and one who was too young to have gotten the vaccine. The sixth child had gotten one dose of the vaccine before exposure, but wasn't yet immune.
Complications from the disease put one child in the hospital with pneumonia, and another with an ear infection, health officials say.
Nearly a dozen other New York state residents outside of New York City have been diagnosed with measles, at least five of them who picked it up during travel to Israel, and six others who were infected after being exposed to a person with measles. Rockland County health officials say 11 measles cases have been confirmed there as of Wednesday, and they're working to confirm another three suspected cases.
The New York City health department is holding a meeting in Williamsburg Thursday with rabbis and elected officials to increase awareness about measles.
"Although measles is preventable, too many families are choosing to not vaccinate or delay vaccination, putting their children and other children at risk," said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
Children who develop a fever and rash should be kept home from school or day care while they seek doctor's treatment.
Measles is a highly contagious disease. Young children, the immunocompromised, and non-immune pregnant women are at highest risk for severe complications. Measles is transmitted by airborne particles, droplets, and direct contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person.
Measles typically presents in adults and children as an acute viral illness characterized by fever and generalized rash. The rash usually starts on the face, proceeds down the body, and may include the palms and soles. The rash lasts several days. Infected individuals are contagious from four days before rash onset through the fourth day after rash appearance.
Health officials say it's important to make sure the entire family is vaccinated before traveling overseas. In addition to the large outbreak currently going on in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel, there are large outbreaks in Europe; in the first six months of 2018, over 41,000 cases of measles and 37 deaths have been reported.
Countries most affected include Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, Greece, Romania, Italy, France, Slovakia, Russia and the United Kingdom, although all countries in Europe have reported cases. There are also outbreaks in many other parts of the world, including countries in Asia, South America and Africa.
For more information, visit nyc.gov/health and search "measles."