Nassau County reports first measles case this year; third in New York

Nassau County Health Department reported its first case of measles for the year on Friday. 

This is the first case of measles in New York State outside of New York City in 2024, and the third case in the state this year. 

According to the New York State Department of Health, the patient is an unvaccinated young child who lives in Nassau County. 

The Department says they are closely monitoring this case and urges all New Yorkers, especially young children, who have not had the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine to get immunized as soon as possible.

"We’re continuing to investigate this case history in partnership with Nassau County health officials, who have also begun contact tracing. The measles cases we are seeing in New York, around the country, and around the world, are a clear indication that our immunization rates are at a dangerously low level," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said.


CDC updates measles prevention guidelines for travelers

Measles, still prevalent in many countries, primarily spreads through international travel, often by unvaccinated Americans.

Nassau County vaccines 

The CDC's vaccine schedule, recommends that all children receive the first MMR dose by 12-15 months of age, and the second dose between 4-6 years. 

According to the New York State Immunization Information System, as of Jan. 1, 80.9% of children age 2 in Nassau County and 82.1% of children age 2 in Suffolk County have received this first dose by their second birthday.

New York City measles

Earlier this month, New York City health officials confirmed the first two cases of measles in 2024.

Officials say that the city typically sees a few cases of measles each year. For example, there were six cases in 2015 and one in 2016. There were none in 2020, 2021, or 2022 during the COVID-19 emergency when travel was limited, and there was one in 2023.

In a statement to FOX 5 NY, NYC Health said that the cases were both related to international travel, but were not related to each other.

"Measles is always a cause for concern and as soon as a case is identified, the city takes action to identify anyone who may have been exposed, provide guidance, and connect people with appropriate resources," NYC Health said in the statement. "The single most important thing we can do to be safe is to get vaccinated."


New York City reports first case of measles in 2024

Health officials have confirmed the city's first two cases of measles in 2024, and say that they are both related to international travel, but are not related to one another.

Measles symptoms

According to the NY DOH: Measles is a serious, potentially life-threatening disease that can make people very ill, especially young children. 

A person with measles can spread the virus four days before a rash appears on the body and as late as four days after the rash goes appears. 

Those who test positive are reccommended to isolate until four days after the rash appears.

Those who are exposed to measles should quarantine 21 days after exposure.

 7-14 days, and up to 21 days after a measles infection

  • High fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes

 3-5 days after symptoms begin, a rash occurs

  • The rash usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet.
  • Small, raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots.
  • The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body.
  • When the rash appears, a person's fever may spike to more than 104° Fahrenheit.

 According to the CDC, there have been a total of 41 measles cases reported nationwide through February 29. 

Authorities say that 97.3% of children in New York City have been vaccinated against measles, compared to an average of 93.1% nationally.