The highest number of cases were reported in NY, where there was an outbreak in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. "We must do everything that we can to prevent measles from gaining a permanent foothold in NY and prevent the further spread of disease nationally", said Dr. Arthur Fougner, president of the Medical Society of the State of NY, in a statement. In New York City, where some 423 cases have been recorded, Mayor Bill de Blasio last month issued a mandatory vaccination order for Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood and other communities hard-hit by the disease.
By comparison, the state DPH s investigated 21 suspect cases during the same period past year and none were confirmed measles.
Measles was once common but gradually became rare after a vaccination campaigns that started in the 1960s. Make sure you and your child are protected with measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
The MMR vaccine, which is considered extremely safe, is approximately 97 percent effective at preventing measles after two doses, according to the CDC.
The CDC said the majority of those affected have not been vaccinated, which has led to an unprecedented spread of the disease. Smith said most of the cases there are from four outbreaks, each of which began when an unvaccinated traveler returned home infected.
Federal health officials say a vocal fringe of US parents who refuse to vaccinate their children have propelled the outbreak, which has mostly affected children who have not received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which confers immunity to the disease. Those born before 1957 are assumed to have had measles and are therefore immune and don't need to be vaccinated.
It takes two doses of the vaccine to protect children from measles.
"Once measles is in an undervaccinated community, it is hard to control the spread of disease". Doctors recommend that adults who are unsure of their immunity should get tested and then get the vaccine if needed.
"Let there be no doubt: not only are the risks of vaccination severely overblown, the benefits are just as underplayed", he said.