New York State Department of Health Announces First Case of Measles In New York State Outside of New York City

The Department is Working with Nassau County Partners to Closely Monitor and Investigate This Case

All New Yorkers are Urged to Make Sure They're Current with All Important Immunizations, Especially Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Get the Facts About Measles Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (MARCH 22, 2024) – The New York State Department of Health today announced the first case of measles in New York State outside of New York City in 2024, the third case in the State this year, amid a global and domestic increase in measles cases. The case was identified in a patient who resides in Nassau County and was confirmed today at the Department's Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany.

The State Health Department is closely monitoring this case—along with Nassau County health officials—and have alerted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All New Yorkers are urged to protect themselves by making sure they're up to date on important, lifesaving immunizations.

"Our epidemiologists and Department staff with the Divisions of Vaccine Excellence (DOVE) and Epidemiology are working hand in hand with our experts in the Wadsworth Laboratory as well as Nassau County health officials to monitor and investigate this case and any potential exposures," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "The most important thing people can do to protect themselves is to verify they've been properly immunized against measles and immediately get a shot if they are not."

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by coughing or sneezing into the air. Individuals can catch the disease by breathing in the virus or by touching a contaminated surface, then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. Complications may include pneumonia, encephalitis, miscarriage, preterm birth, hospitalization, and death.

The incubation period for measles is up to 21 days. People who are exposed to measles should quarantine 21 days after exposure and those who test positive should isolate until four days after the rash appears.

Symptoms for measles can include the following:

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.

A person with measles can pass it to others as soon as four days before a rash appears and as late as four days after the rash appears.

The single best way to prevent measles is to be immunized. Individuals should receive two doses of Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine to be protected. Those who aren't sure about their immunization status should call their local health department or health care provider. Those who were born before 1957 have likely already been exposed to the virus and are immune. Those born between 1957 and 1971 should check with a doctor to ensure they've been properly immunized as vaccines administered during that time may not have been reliable.

Healthcare providers should report suspected measles cases to their local health department.

Visit the Department's dedicated measles website here for information about the measles, immunization data, and information for providers.

More information about the measles vaccine can be found here.