The measles outbreak in New York City, the largest in the nation this year, has officially ended, Mayor Bill de Blasio and city health officials announced Sept. 3.
“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,” Mayor de Blasio said in a written statement. “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.”
A measles outbreak is considered to be over when 42 days, or two incubation periods, have elapsed since the last affected persons in the area were no longer infectious. “That time period has now passed for the people most recently infected with measles and reported,” the city health department said in the statement.
Since the outbreak began in October of last year, 654 individuals were diagnosed with measles in the five boroughs of New York, although 72% occurred in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.according to the health department. The majority of affected people were under 18 years of age (80%), and most were either unvaccinated (73%) or incompletely vaccinated (7%).
The end of the measles outbreak also brings an end to the public health emergency that was declared on April 9 for parts of Brooklyn, the statement noted.
“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,” city health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in the statement.