Image of medicine vial. Spread the truth, not measles.


Measles Cases by Year

The Health Department publishes measles cases by year in NYC. As of March 25, 2024, there have been four measles cases in NYC.

The data below reflects cases as of March 25, 2024.

Measles is a virus that causes fever and a rash. It is highly contagious and anyone who is not vaccinated against the virus can get it at any age.

Although measles is not widespread in the United States because of high vaccination rates, it is still common in other parts of the world. Measles is more common in parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and parts of South America. Measles is sometimes brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers who return with measles infection.

There are currently several outbreaks of measles outside of the U.S., and even within the U.S., making it especially important for people to be protected.

If you plan to travel internationally, make sure you are protected against measles by getting vaccinated before travel. This includes an early, extra dose of measles-containing vaccine for infants ages 6 to 11 months.

How Measles Spreads

Measles is very contagious. If one person has measles, up to 90% of unvaccinated people close to them will also become infected.

Measles spreads through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The virus can stay in the air for up to two hours. This means people get measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, even up to two hours after that person has left the room. It can also spread through a contaminated surface, if a person touches the contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth. A person will be contagious four days before the rash appears and for four days after the rash appears. They are no longer contagious on the fifth day after the rash started.

Prevention and Treatment

Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles. Anyone who has received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine is considered immune for life and unlikely to get measles.

There is no specific medicine to treat the measles virus. People with measles can get better on their own. However, about one in five people who get measles in the U.S. will be hospitalized. Even with the best care, one or two out of 1,000 people with measles will die.

Vaccination is both safe and effective.

MMR Vaccine

A child should get a measles vaccine at 12 months of age. The vaccine is combined with mumps and rubella vaccines into one vaccine called measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). A second dose of the MMR vaccine should be given at 4 to 6 years of age, before children enter school. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are 97% effective against measles.

Infants ages 6 to 11 months who are traveling internationally should receive an early, extra dose of the MMR vaccine at least two weeks prior to travel. Children and adults ages 12 months and older should be up to date on their MMR vaccine, or they should have blood work confirming immunity to measles.

For information on where you or your child can get vaccinated, call 311.

Vaccination Requirements Citywide

MMR Safety

Most people who receive the MMR vaccine do not have any side effects. Some people experience mild side effects, such as fever, mild rash or swelling. Severe problems are very rare. The current measles vaccine has been used safely for decades, keeping children healthy and saving many thousands of lives in the U.S.

Before the measles vaccine was available, an estimated 3 million to 4 million people got measles and 500 people died each year in the U.S. Because of widespread vaccination, cases of measles have decreased more than 99%.

Vaccine ingredients do not cause autism. More than 25 articles have been published since 1999 that have found no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as no link between the MMR vaccine and ASD in children. Sources claiming otherwise are not based in science.


Symptoms usually appear 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. In some cases, symptoms may start as early as seven days or as late as 21 days.

Early symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes

Three to five days after initial symptoms, a rash of red spots appears on the face that then spreads over the entire body.

Anyone can become infected with measles, but the virus is more severe in infants, pregnant people and people with weakened immune systems. Complications of measles include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infections
  • Pneumonia (infection of the lungs)
  • Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
  • Premature birth or low-birthweight in pregnancy
  • Death

Additional Resources

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