City finds 7 measles cases on Staten Island as disease spreads

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The resurgence of a once-eradicated disease has made its way to Staten Island, according to city officials.

The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced Wednesday that seven measles cases have been reported in Staten Island since the beginning of the outbreak in October.

Six of those cases occurred in March, but were only recently reported to DOHMH, because the sick residents of Willowbrook only went to see a health care provider after their illnesses had been resolved, according to a media release from the department.

The seventh sick person lives in Port Richmond, according to DOHMH.

The seven Staten Island cases, and an eighth in Manhattan have not been linked to any additional transmissions, according to DOHMH.

The six initial Staten Island individuals reportedly contracted the measles in Rockland County, and the seventh person came into contact with the disease in Sunset Park, according to the media release.

Both those areas have had documented measles activity, according to DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.


“These cases prove the urgent need to get vaccinated, especially if you spend time in areas that are experiencing an outbreak,” he said. “This message cannot be overstated — if you live, work or attend school in these sections of the city, get vaccinated if you are able.”

As of Tuesday, the city has documented 550 cases of the disease since October — the majority of which have occurred in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Of those cases, 42 resulted in hospitalization, and 12 resulted in admissions to intensive care units.

On April 9, the city issued an order requiring people who reside or work in the neighborhood’s ZIP codes to be vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

DOHMH also announced it would be scaling up its community outreach in the Sunset Park community this week and launching engagement drives in Spanish and Chinese to raise awareness.

The department has also focused its efforts on the city’s Orthodox Jewish community, where many of the cases have been found. It has distributed educational materials, including approximately 29,000 pro-vaccine pamphlets in both English and Yiddish.

As of Wednesday, more than 100 individuals have received summonses for being non-compliant with the city’s vaccination order.

If a hearing upholds the summons, a $1,000 penalty will be imposed. Failing to appear at the hearing or respond to the summons will result in a $2,000 fine, according to DOHMH.