In 2000, the United States achieved a significant milestone when measles was declared eliminated, thanks to widespread vaccination efforts.

99.1 The Whale logo
Get our free mobile app

However, over the years, cases of the virus have been on the rise, particularly among individuals who remain unvaccinated. In 2024, measles has spread to several states, including New York, prompting concerns about public health and the protection of children in schools.

The New York State Department of Health has been diligently tracking the number of confirmed measles cases. Measles is a highly contagious disease that can have severe consequences, especially for young children. The department emphasizes the importance of vaccination to prevent complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, miscarriage, preterm birth, hospitalization, and even death.

The virus spreads easily through respiratory droplets when infected individuals cough or sneeze. It can also be contracted by breathing in the virus or touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. Surprisingly, even entering a room that an infected person visited up to two hours before can lead to exposure.

Measles is classified as one of the most contagious diseases worldwide, infecting around 90 percent of individuals who are not vaccinated against it.

Recognizing the symptoms of measles is crucial for early detection. The initial signs include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. As the disease progresses, individuals develop a characteristic red rash consisting of flat red spots that can appear anywhere from the hairline to the feet. Alongside the rash, a high fever as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit may occur. While many individuals recover from measles, there is an elevated risk of developing long-term and serious health complications.


Concerned parents in New York are especially interested in knowing if their child's school is well-protected in the event of a measles outbreak. They want to understand the vaccination rates among students in the same school as their own. Addressing these concerns, a CBS News investigation examined data from tens of thousands of public and private schools in 19 states and communities where vaccination information is publicly available.

According to the investigation, in New York, an impressive 98 percent of kindergarten children have been vaccinated against measles, indicating high compliance with vaccination efforts. Only 1.9 percent of kindergarten children in the state remain unvaccinated. The state of New York shares vaccination records publicly, allowing parents to access specific breakdowns of vaccinated students in their child's particular school. This information can be found here. 

Some school districts are more vaccinated than others. For example, the Union Endicott Central School District demonstrates exceptional measles vaccination rates, with 99 percent of attending children having received the vaccine. In contrast, the Waterloo Central School District shows significantly lower rates, with only 25 percent of students vaccinated against measles. Parents can see the exact percentage of students vaccinated against measles in their specific school district here.

This graphic below which was provided by the New York State Department of Health, shows a breakdown of the percentage of children in each county in the state who had received Measles, Mumps, and Rubella immunization by the age of two as of January 1, 2024.

New York State Department of Health
New York State Department of Health

As the measles resurgence continues to pose a threat to public health, officials say the importance of vaccination cannot be overstated and remind the public that the measles vaccination not only protects individuals but also contributes to the overall safety and well-being of the community, especially those who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical reasons.

Norovirus Symptoms New Yorkers Need To Beware Of

The CDC is warning New Yorkers about a possible Norovirus outbreak. Here is what to be on the lookout for...

Gallery Credit: Chris Cardenas

11 Baby Names Banned in New York

If you were thinking of giving your baby any of these names and you live in New York, you won't be able to because they're banned. Sorry.

Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

More From 99.1 The Whale