With the spike in measles cases in New York state, particularly New York City, and around the country this early in the year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a health alert Friday about the importance of vaccination and encouraging the public to get vaccinated.


Measles rash Image/CDC
Measles rash

“Measles is a serious, highly contagious disease that is not just limited to young children,” Governor Cuomo said. “While many New Yorkers have likely already received measles vaccinations, with the number of outbreaks at a higher level in years the State is taking the opportunity to urge New Yorkers check with their healthcare provider to make sure they and all of their family members’ immunizations are up-to-date.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that measles has infected 129 people in 13 states in 2014, the most in the first four months of any year since 1996; 29 of those infections have been in New York. In 2013, an outbreak of 58 cases in New York City was the largest reported localized outbreak of the measles in the U.S. since 1996. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

According to the Governor’s alert, measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected with the measles virus   It is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. You can be infected by measles virus suspended in the air for an hour or more after the infected person has left the room. The most common complications of measles are diarrhea, pneumonia, and ear infection, but it may also cause brain damage and rarely death. It is particularly harmful to persons with immunosuppression, pregnant women and very young children.