Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Man Infected 39 People With Measles On Trip From New York To Michigan

A man unknowingly infected 39 people with measles when he traveled from an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn to Michigan to raise money for charity, The Washington Post reported.

The man, referred to as “Michigan’s Patient Zero,” had stayed in private homes, attended synagogue and shopped in kosher markets, spreading the contagious respiratory virus as he traveled. He felt sick along the way, according to the Post, and saw a doctor in Detroit. The doctor had never encountered measles before and originally diagnosed the man with bronchitis.

The situation proves just how quickly measles can spread through insular communities.

New York is experiencing the largest measles outbreak in recent history. It’s mostly affected insular Orthodox Jewish areas, where misinformation about vaccination has spread. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 329 cases of measles have been confirmed since last October.

States of emergency have been called in Brooklyn and heavily-Jewish areas of suburban Rockland County, and rabbis have urged community members to vaccinate their children. Nevertheless, some continue to abstain.

Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.