Measles outbreak in New York State prompts Governor to issue health alert


Many thought it was a thing of that past.  But now, measles is making a comeback.

There is an outbreak of the virus in New York State, which has prompted New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to issue a health alert.

“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,” Cuomo said on his official website late last month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 129 cases of measles have been reported in 13 states so far this year.  That’s the highest number of cases in the first four months of a year since 1996.  29 of those cases are from New York State.

Measles is a disease that can be deadly.  Director of SUNY Oswego Health Services Liz Burns explained that there are many symptoms upon contracting the virus.

“It can cause death,” she said.  “You get congestion, a sore throat, a cough and then a very high fever…full body rash.  It’s kind of a reddish rash that covers the whole body.”

A typical rash that often comes from contracting the Measles virus.
A typical rash that often comes from contracting the measles virus.  Courtesy

There is a larger issue than getting a nasty rash, however.

“The biggest concern is Encephalitus where it can cause death and a very high temperature,” Burns said.

Encephalitus is a disease that can come from measles.  The life-threatening illness causes irritation and swelling of the brain.

So who needs to be vaccinated?  Those who have received two vaccines shouldn’t worry.  Typically, most get their first measles shot after their first birthday-around 15 months-and another before entry into kindergarten.  For those who haven’t, there appears to be an incentive to consider getting the measles vaccine.


Director of SUNY Oswego Health Services Liz Burns explains the measles virus:

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