An End to the 2019 NYC Measles Outbreak

Drug Topics JournalDrug Topics October 2019
Volume 163
Issue 10

Number of reported cases hightest since 1992.

measles viruses digital representation
Meases Map

Current Measles Outbreaks

The number of measles cases in the U.S. has skyrocketed and has reached the greatest number of cases reported since 1992, according to the CDC. Simultaneously, New York City health officials said the measles outbreak there has ended.

From January 1 to August 29, 1,234 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 31 states, says the CDC. Nineteen additional cases were reported in the last week of August.

On September 3, New York City Mayor de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot announced the end to the measles public health emergency declared on April 9 for parts of Brooklyn. Measles outbreaks are typically declared over when two incubation periods for measles (the equivalent of 42 days) have passed since the last infectious day of the last persons with measles in affected areas, according to a statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“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 says. “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.” 

Pharmacists have been on the frontline of fighting the measles outbreak, by offering both information and vaccinations. “We are seeing increased demand for vaccination and pushback on anti-vaccine groups,” Mitchel C. Rothholz, RPh, MBA, chief strategy officer for APhA, told Drug Topics in March. “At a minimum, pharmacies are serving as additional outlets for information to the public about the importance of MMR vaccine. They are a conduit to address some of the misinformation that is circulating.”

Meanwhile, CDC found that more than 75% of the cases this year are linked to outbreaks in New York. “Measles is more likely to spread and cause outbreaks in U.S. communities where groups of people are unvaccinated,” CDC says.

So far this year, 125 of the people who got measles this year were hospitalized, and 65 reported having complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis.


The states that have reported measles cases to CDC are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

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