Measles Outbreak:  New York City Student Infects 21 Others

Measles virus under microscope
A 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles. Credits: CDC/ Allison M. Maiuri, MPH, CHES

A New York City student with measles infected 21 others with ties to a Jewish school, the Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov in Brooklyn, according to health officials.

The incident comes amid the ongoing measles outbreak in Brooklyn where more than a hundred people have been infected with the virus.

In December, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued an advisory that schools must require students who did not receive the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to stay home.

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According to the Health Department, the Yeshiva Kehilath Yakob in Williamburg failed to comply with the advisory. It allowed the infected student to attend school.

On Friday, Michael Lanza, a spokesman for the Health Department told NBC News that the Jewish school is now working with them to “prevent further exposures” to measles.

Since October, there have been 133 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens. Most of the cases involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community.

“The increase in measles cases in Orthodox Jewish communities of Brooklyn demonstrates the importance of getting children vaccinated on time to prevent measles and not put other children at risk,” said  Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot in a previous statement.

Jewish community rabbi encourages members to get vaccinated

On the other hand, Rabbi Avi Greenstein, Executive Director of the Boro Park Jewish Community Council, commented, “As the measles outbreak continues to spread relentlessly. It is imperative that every member of our community protect themselves and their families by getting vaccinated.”

“It is equally imperative to understand that prevention is [the] key. As such, we need to take away the lesson of how important it is for every one of us to avail ourselves of modern medicine and not to trust in herd immunity, but rather to follow the vaccination schedule recommended by medical professionals to protect our families and our entire community,’ added Rabbi Greenstein.

Measles symptoms

Measles is a very contagious virus, which is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Individuals infected with the virus will experience the following early symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes

These early symptoms appear 10 to 12 days after a person’s exposure to measles Three to five days after the initial symptoms, a rash of red spots will appear on the face and then spreads over the entire body of the person.

Complications of measles include: diarrhea, ear infection, Pneumonia (infection of the lungs), encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and death.