NY Health Department issues measles warning after Australian tourist visit

By @chelean on
A measles poster is seen at Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles, California February 5, 2015.
A measles poster is seen at Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles, California February 5, 2015. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

The New York State Department of Health has issued an alert after an Australian tourist carrying measles visited several venues last week. The tourist is feared to have exposed other people to the contagious respiratory disease.

The Australian’s travel route from Feb. 16 to 21 included hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The tourist was part of the Oasis Bible Tour group at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Health agency is now warning people who have visited the following places to contact their health provider should they develop symptoms. Those who have been immunised have minimal risk of developing the illness. However, for others, there is a high chance that they would develop symptoms, which usually appear 10 to 12 days after exposure.

The Australian tourist’s travel route, including time spent in the area plus the two-hour period after departure:

  • La Quinta Inn, 31 W 71st Street, New York (between Feb. 16 and the morning of Feb. 19)
  • Oasis Bible Tours at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave., New York (morning of Feb. 16 and the evening of Feb. 17)
  • Watchtower Educational Center, 100 Watchtower Drive, Patterson, NY (between 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 19)
  • Best Western Hotel, 1324 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn (from 12 pm. on Feb. 19 until Feb. 20)
  • Comfort Inn & Suites Goshen – Middletown, 20 Hatfield Lane, Goshen (from Feb. 20 at 4:30 p.m. until Feb. 21 at 10:30 a.m.)
  • Excel Urgent Care, 1 Hatfield Lane, Goshen (Feb. 21 between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.)
  • Orange Regional Medical Center, Emergency Department, 707 E. Main Street, Middleton (Feb. 21 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.)

The virus remains alive in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours. Those who have visited the abovementioned places at the given time periods could be at risk of catching measles.

The risk is significantly lowered if the person had received a vaccination. However, those who had not should be on the lookout for the following symptoms: fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes and rashes.

The rashes are described as small red spots, some of which are slightly raised, beginning at the hairline before moving down to the face and neck then down the body to the arms and legs. These usually appear two to four days after their fever.

There is no treatment for measles, but an infected person may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever, according to the Health Department. They would need bed rest and fluids. And if they develop complications from the disease, such as diarrhoea, ear infection or pneumonia, they would also need treatment for these.

The department advises individuals who may have been exposed to the virus to contact their healthcare provider or local emergency department before going for care. This is to prevent further spread of the virus.

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