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Health Department: Tourist with measles stayed at a hotel on Atlantic Ave

February 27, 2018 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A patient receives the measles vaccination. AP Photo

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) announced last week that a tourist from Australia was confirmed to have measles as he visited New York making stops in Putnam County, Orange County, Manhattan and Brooklyn.

DOH confirmed that the tourist, who was part of an Oasis Bible Tour Group at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan and visiting New York between Feb. 16 and 21 spent the night of Feb. 19 at the Best Western Hotel at 1324 Atlantic Ave.

On Feb. 21, he visited Excel Urgent Care in Goshen, New York, before being sent to the Orange Regional Medical Center emergency department in Middletown later that afternoon.

The general manager of the Atlantic Avenue Best Western told the Brooklyn Eagle that as of yesterday, “everything here is perfectly fine. It’s as if nothing happened. Everyone on the staff has been informed and everyone here is doing fine.”

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. People first develop a fever, then may have a cough, runny nose and red watery eyes, followed by appearance of the rash.

The virus can remain alive in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours after an infected individual leaves an area. People most at risk are those with weakened immunity systems and individuals who have not been vaccinated. DOH recommends that anyone should contact their health provider if they develop measles symptoms. Symptoms usually appear 10 to 12 days after exposure.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website mentions a large multi-state measles outbreak in 2015 that was linked to an amusement park in California. A likely traveler who had been infected overseas with measles visited the amusement park while infectious, however no source was identified. One-hundred-eighty-eight people from 24 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles.

In 2016, 86 people from 19 states were reported to have measles.

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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.

Typically, the first dose of the measles vaccine should be given at 12-15 months of age and the second dose should be given at four to six years of age upon entering school. Individuals may still be vaccinated later in life, according to DOH.

In New York state, measles immunization is required for children enrolled in schools, daycare and pre-K.

The risk for developing measles is very low, especially for people who have been immunized. Brooklyn oncologist and internist Dr. Amer Rafiaa is concerned with children not being immunized at an early age.

He told the Eagle, “Nowadays, because of some parents’ refusal to vaccinate their kids, measles may be making a coming back. It’s really frightening.”

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