Measles Outbreak in NY and NJ

Neil Mehta, Staff Writer

A measles breakout continues to threaten residents of New York and New Jersey, as the region suffers from the worst measles outbreaks in decades. As of last week, over two hundred cases have been reported in the two states, coming predominantly from ultra-Orthodox communities.


Measles, a highly contagious viral disease, spreads rapidly through sneezes, coughs, and breaths of infected individuals, which can remain in the air for up to two hours. Generally beginning with a fever, cough, and runny nose, the disease leads to the appearance of a characteristic red rash on the body. Eventually, the disease can lead to additional complications, which may be far more threatening than the original symptoms. However, measles is almost 100% preventable with proper vaccination, with the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine.


This recent measles outbreak in New York is shadowed by a greater issue of refusal to vaccinate within these Orthodox communities. Vaccination rates remain threateningly low, especially in schools, making emergences of diseases as infectious as measles extremely difficult for health officials to control. A lack of cooperation among residents stands a large hurdle in resolving this outbreak, with many residents believing that the vaccinations are harmful.


As this current outbreak continues to develop, it appears that informing the public about the importance of proper vaccination and making the vaccinations more accessible can aid in preventing future outbreaks.