Statement from New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker on New York State’s Public Health Response to Measles

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 24, 2019) - Today the New York State Department of Health and Rockland County Health Department recognized an important public health milestone: 42 days -- the equivalent of two incubation periods -- without a new case of measles in Rockland County. Containing and halting the spread of measles is a top priority, and this milestone could not have occurred without the tremendous collaboration we’ve experienced between federal, state and county officials as well as local health care providers these past 12 months.

Our work together followed public health best practices, always mindful and respectful of the needs of the communities affected. While this is welcome news to the hundreds of professionals who work to protect the health of New Yorkers, we are not letting down our guard.

Since October 1, 2018, a total of 312 people were infected with measles in Rockland County. Over that same timeframe, together with our partners, we have administered nearly 30,000 MMR vaccinations in Rockland County alone – approximately three times the amount of MMR vaccines administered the previous year. To further help prevent transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases, in June, New York State removed non-medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements for children. In August, the Department issued emergency regulations further strengthening the process by which physicians can grant medical exemptions to vaccination in order to prevent them from being used for non-medical purposes. Our commitment to public health is unwavering.

We are on track in the coming days to reach similar milestones in the remaining counties where we have focused our public health response. We will remain vigilant in protecting all New Yorkers from measles and other dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases.