KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 – New York City’s measles outbreak of 654 cases has now ended since October 2018, health officials said.
Measles outbreaks normally end when two incubation periods for measles of about 42 days have passed since the last day a person with measles is infectious in an affected area. As the last new case was reported mid-July, the incubation period has now ended for New York City.
“Ending the measles outbreak required extensive collaboration with community organizations and Jewish leaders. They helped encourage vaccinations and achieve record immunisation levels in parts of Brooklyn,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement yesterday.
“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.”
CNN reported that the measles outbreak was announced last April as a public health emergency for parts of Brooklyn, and unvaccinated people living in select ZIP codes were required to receive the measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations.
The city spent an excess of US$6 million and sourced more than 500 staff to work on response efforts, which included raising awareness on vaccination and hosting community events.
Despite no new cases, officials will continue to keep track and may add cases retrospectively as they are identified.
The outbreak has been declared over in the city, but it is still in rounds in other regions of New York and the United States; a problem that could cost the nation its measles elimination status if it is not treated by next month.
The World Health Organization revokes a country’s elimination status when measles has been spreading continuously for a year.
“It certainly is incredibly frustrating and upsetting to the public health community that we may lose measles elimination status, because we do have a safe and effective vaccine,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, was quoted as saying by CNN.