2013 measles outbreak cost New York City $395K, cost analysis shows

In 2013, one case of measles from an international traveler returning to New York City sparked an outbreak sickening 58 unvaccinated people. Now researches have assembled a cost analysis of the financial toll the city's response had on communities and taxpayers, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics

Here are eight things to know:

1. Researchers from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the CDC calculated time and costs used to investigate and respond to the outbreak.

2. The event marked one of New York City's biggest measles outbreaks since 1992.

3. The first case was reported in March 2013. Health officials spent four more months sifting through suspected reports, interviewing patients, checking medical and immunization records, tracking contacts and reaching out to the community.

4. The 58 total cases were centered between two Brooklyn neighborhoods where many of the people affected were extended families. Seventy-eight percent of those infected were at least 12 months of age and weren't vaccinated due to care delay or personal choice. Twelve patients were younger than 12 months of age and were too young to receive the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. One patient was an adult with a recorded vaccination history.

5. Twenty-eight individuals sought medical healthcare professionals, which was reported to the DOHMH.

6. Due to patients not being placed in airborne isolation, 11 healthcare facilities were exposed to the measles outbreak. 

7. In total, 3,351 possible exposure contacts were identified, directly costing the New York City DOHMH $394,448 and a total of 10,054 hours of health official's time to control the outbreak.

8. The authors of the study noted the outbreak caused health officials to redirect resources away from other health initiatives, concluding the preventable measles outbreak placed a significant burden on New York City's health infrastructure.  

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