The outbreak of measles afflicting the Brooklyn Haradi Ultra-Orthodox community now appears to be spreading. Health department officials in Rockland County reported that one local case of measles may be directly related to the large number of infections in Brooklyn, 35 miles away.

Health officials warn people who were in the Hatzlacha Grocery Store, located at 80 West Street in Spring Valley, on Wednesday May 22 between 1:30-4:30 p.m. may have come into contact with the infected person, putting them at risk for measles.

Measles is a highly infectious disease which can cause people to become severely ill, but is not deadly in most cases. The virus can spread through exposure to saliva or nasal secretions, or by being in close breathing space of infected people. Most people are vaccinated for against the virus as young children. All of the cases reported in Brooklyn were in infants, children, and adults who had not been vaccinated.

Health officials urge everyone who has not been vaccinated to get immunized as soon as possible. Although infants, who are most at risk for infection, are too young to be vaccinated, adults can reduce infections by being vaccinated themselves. Healthy adults, who rarely become fatally ill with measles, if unvaccinated, could be carriers for the virus and transmit it to vulnerable groups, including infants, pregnant women, and adults with compromised immune systems.

The New York outbreak parallels the larger outbreak in the UK, which has been tied to parents declining to vaccinating children in response to a discredited scientific paper linking childhood vaccinations and autism. That paper, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, has been fully retracted because falsified data and the author's conflicts of interest.