At 550 confirmed measles cases, the NYC outbreak spreads to 2 more boroughs

The one case in Manhattan and seven in Staten Island can be traced to exposures in Rockland County and Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said.

The city’s ongoing measles outbreak has spread from Brooklyn into other boroughs, with cases now confirmed in Manhattan and Staten Island, the city’s Health Department announced Wednesday.

Since October, the city has seen 550 confirmed cases of the virus, with the majority being documented in Williamsburg, according to the Health Department. The agency, however, said they now have confirmation of one case in Manhattan and seven cases in Staten Island. 

Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said the individuals in those eight new cases contracted measles from exposures in Rockland County and Sunset Park.

"These cases prove the urgent need to get vaccinated, especially if you spend time in areas that are experiencing an outbreak. This message cannot be overstated — if you live, work or attend school in these sections of the city, get vaccinated if you are able," she said in a statement. 

Six of the Staten Island diagnoses date back to March, but were only discovered recently by a health provider who said the patients came to their facilities after their illnesses were resolved, according to the health department. There have been 42 hospitalizations and 12 admissions to intensive care units due to measles complications since the beginning of the outbreak in October, the health department said.

The measles can lead to brain swelling and death, and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is the only proven way to defend against the virus.

Last month, the mayor issued an emergency health order mandating residents from four Brooklyn ZIP codes — 11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249 — get the vaccine or face a $1,000 fine. As of Wednesday, 123 individuals have received summonses for violating the order, the health department said. 

Ivan Pereira