Published: Thu, March 01, 2018
Life&Culture | By Peggy Hughes

NY Health Department fears measles outbreak from Australian traveler

NY Health Department fears measles outbreak from Australian traveler

Some New Yorkers may have been exposed to the measles virus last week after a tourist with the infection visited several city and state attractions, the state health department warns.

The infected tourist started his Manhattan visit at a La Quinta Inn on West 71st Street on February 16 and stayed until the 19th.

The infected individual was a participant on an "Oasis Bible Tour group", and the areas he visited since February 16 are highlighted as a health risk for possible contamination.

-Best Western Hotel, 1324 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.

Because exhaled measles can stay alive for up to two hours in the air or on surfaces, health officials have issued a precautionary alert for anyone who may have been exposed to the person as they travelled throughout the city and surrounding counties from February 16 to 21. Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, runny nose and eyes.

According to a statement from DOH, measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people.

Measles has recently hit the NY, and federal health executives are suggesting the city's tiny unvaccinated group of people to be on a lookout.

The health department said the risk of developing measles is very low, especially for people who have been vaccinated.

To reduce the risk of transmission, the Department of Health is advising that individuals with suspected exposure and symptoms consistent with measles contact their clinic, emergency department, or provider prior to going for care. And going by a data received by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it's expected that approximately 95 percent of qualified people in NY have got the mixture measles, mumps, and rubella, or MMR, vaccine, which is 97 percent efficient on measles.

Australia's overall vaccination coverage rate is good, according to the country's National Center for Immunization Research & Surveillance. In 2015, an even larger outbreak spread across multiple states and involved more than 100 people, with the epicentre thought to be two Disney theme parks in California; it too spread mostly among the unvaccinated.

In 2017, 118 people from 15 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have developed measles, and, so far in 2018 nine cases of measles have been reported.

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