Borough Park

Measles outbreak in Borough Park, Williamsburg cost the city nearly $400,000

August 1, 2018 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hon. Lawrence Knipel of Kings County Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit against the city on Thursday. AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

A 2013 measles outbreak in the Hasidic Jewish enclaves of Borough Park and Williamsburg cost the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene nearly $400,000, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  

The outbreak began in March 2013 when one child returned infected from a trip to London. From then until June of that year, 58 people ranging in age from infancy to age 32 caught measles, according to Dr. Jennifer B. Rosen, one of the authors of the study. Counting travel, testing equipment and more than 10,000 hours of work by 87 staffers, the Health Department spent $394,448 fighting the outbreak, said the study, which was quoted on Tuesday by the New York Post.

The study cited “the insular nature of the affected community,” meaning the fact that Hasidic Jews rarely come into close contact with the larger community until they’re adults, as a reason the outbreak didn’t spread further. However, it also noted that none of the patients were vaccinated against measles. All in all, this was the largest measles outbreak in the city since 1992, the Post said. “Measles vaccine refusals or delays can lead to large outbreaks following measles importations, with costly and resource intensive response and containment,” Rosen wrote in the study.

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