Updated
May 1st, 2019

Pregnant Women Diagnosed With Measles in NYC

Congenital measles has been reported in neonates born to women who had measles within 10 days of delivery

mom and dad in nyc t shirt

The New York City Health Department announced that 2 pregnant women have been diagnosed with a measles infection. 

This is important news since, in a past outbreak, measles cases in pregnant women resulted in a baby being born with measles and a miscarriage.

Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a press release, “These (expecting mothers) are stark reminders of why New Yorkers must get vaccinated against the measles as soon as possible.” 

The NYC Health Department has specifically alerted obstetricians/gynecologists and other healthcare providers of the ongoing measles outbreak and recommended that pregnant women be screened for measles immunity.

Measles may cause a pregnant woman to give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby. 

NYC also recommended that in instances where pregnant women have been exposed, it is critical that the woman’s measles immunity be assessed quickly to determine if she should receive intravenous immune globulin (IVIG). 

Non-immune pregnant women exposed to measles should receive 400 mg/kg of IVIG as post-exposure prophylaxis within 6 days of exposure. 

Because we often do not learn about the exposure until several days afterward, the NYC Health Department has often been checking immunity when the deadline for IVIG is approaching. 

Having immunity documented in the women’s chart has greatly facilitated the management of these cases. 

Transmission of the measles virus from a pregnant woman to her fetus (congenital measles) has been reported in neonates born to women who had measles within 10 days of delivery.

Provision of pooled human immune globulin after delivery can decrease the risk of congenital measles, reported a 2015 study.  

No specific antiviral treatment exists for measles virus, says the CDC. 

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Deputy Commissioner Dr. Demetre Daskalakis said, “There’s no reason why a healthy child or adult should not be vaccinated against measles.” 

Measles can be prevented with a measles-containing vaccine, which is primarily administered as the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

The combination measles-mumps-rubella-varicella, Proquad vaccine can be used for children aged 12 months through 12 years for protection against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella. 

A single-antigen measles vaccine is not available in the USA.

Measles is caused by a single-stranded, enveloped RNA virus with 1 serotype. It is classified as a member of the genus Morbillivirus in the Paramyxoviridae family, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Humans are the only natural hosts of the measles virus. 

Recently, on April 18, 2019, the NYC Health Department announced it is issuing 3 civil summonses, subject to fines, to people who failed to comply with the Health Commissioner’s Emergency Order mandating measles vaccination in certain zip codes in NYC. 

This announcement said ‘any person receiving these summons is entitled to a hearing, and if the hearing officer upholds the summons, a $1,000 penalty will be imposed. 

Relevant Links: CDC vaccination schedules, CDC vaccine price list, international travel alerts, and report vaccine side effects.

NYC MEDIA CONTACT: Patrick Gallahue / Michael Lanza: [email protected]