The worst measles outbreak in the United States in 13 years was declared to be contained Monday, bringing an end to a sickness which was nearly eradicated in all parts of the country, but recently flared up in parts of Brooklyn.
The disease, which reportedly began in March from an British family who does not immunize out of ideological concerns, infected a total of 58 people. The New York City health department said that all cases involved adults or children who were not vaccinated.
State Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat representing Boro Park where 28 of the cases were reported, worried that the announcement may cause people to stop immunizing.
“While I am delighted that the measles outbreak in Boro Park and Williamsburg has been contained, we cannot allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security,” Felder said in a statement.
“This disease can quickly and easily be transmitted again. Now is the time to be proactive and ensure that anyone who still has not been immunized gets the proper vaccinations.”
The other 30 cases were reported in Williamsburg. The outbreak resulted in one case of pneumonia and two hospitalizations.
In a statement, the health department thanked the medical providers, yeshivos, elected officials, Rabbanim, and community organizations, “for their tremendous contributions in helping to control this outbreak.”
“The measles outbreak in Brooklyn has ended, largely due to the efforts of pediatricians in Williamsburg and Boro Park,” Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. “Their efforts to vaccinate and educate families in the community helped control the spread of the disease.”
Health officials say that a vaccination rate of around 95 percent are needed to prevent outbreaks
“Measles has a real knack for finding people who aren’t vaccinated,” said Gregory Wallace, a measles expert at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.