NYC Measles Outbreak Cases Reach 121

The number of measles cases in the New York City outbreak that began last October in the Orthodox Jewish community has reached 121, the city's health department said Thursday.

Most of the cases (108) are in children younger than 18, with 13 cases in adults. No deaths have occurred, but eight people have been hospitalized and one child ended up in the intensive care unit.

Of the 121 cases, five were diagnosed in the past week and 26 were identified after symptoms subsided. Most of the cases have occurred in Borough Park and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, according to the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Four cases, including the first one, were acquired on visits to Israel, where there is a large measles outbreak. One case was acquired in the U.K. and one in the Ukraine.

Measles is highly infectious and can cause pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and death. Measles is preventable with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

A city health department-led campaign to encourage vaccination has led to more than 7,000 people receiving the MMR vaccine.

"As a pediatrician, I can't stress enough how critical it is to vaccinate children against measles," Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a city news release. "Measles is a serious, highly contagious and potentially deadly infection. Complications and fatalities are rare but do happen. I urge parents not to take any risks that may jeopardize their children or other children in their community."

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