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Australian tourist may have exposed New Yorkers to measles, health department says

After a tourist with measles visited several New York City and state areas, health officials are advising people to take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.
measles, measles vaccine, measles outbreak, measles exposure
Health officials are warning New Yorkers to check if they have received a measles vaccine. Photo: Reuters

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.

A tourist from Australia who was confirmed to have measles, a viral disease that causes fever and rash, visited New York from Feb. 16 to 21, officials said.

That individual was part of a tour group at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visited the Watchtower Educational Center in Putnam County, stayed at hotels in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Orange County and also spent time at an Orange County Urgent Care Center and the Orange Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department.

Those visits may have potentially exposed others to measles, officials said. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease, though experts say the risk of developing measles is very low for the general public, as most people have been vaccinated. The virus remains alive in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours, health officials said.

In New York State, children enrolled in schools, daycare and pre-kindergarten are required to receive measles immunization. Since August 1990, this has also been required of college students.

Anyone born after January 1, 1957, who has not received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine or does not have a blood test proving immunity to measles, should receive two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, health officials said.

Measles symptoms include fever, rash, coughing and a runny nose, and usually appear within 10 to 12 days of being exposed to the virus.

To prevent the spread of measles, the state health department is advising anyone who may have been exposed and who has these symptoms to contact their health care provider, a local clinic or a local emergency department before they visit to receive care.

“This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness,” officials said.

A full list of when and where people may have been exposed includes:

- La Quinta Inn, 31 W. 71st Street, New York, NY, between February 16 and the morning of February 19, 2018
- Oasis Bible Tours at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue, New York, NY, the morning of February 16, and the evening of February 17, 2018
- Watchtower Educational Center, 100 Watchtower Drive, Patterson, NY, between 12:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. on February 19, 2018
- Best Western Hotel, 1324 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, from February 19 until 12:00 p.m. on February 20, 2018
- Comfort Inn & Suites Goshen – Middletown, 20 Hatfield Lane, Goshen, NY, from 4:30 p.m. on February 20 until 10:30 a.m. on February 21, 2018
- Excel Urgent Care, 1 Hatfield Lane, Goshen, NY, between 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. on February 21, 2018
- Orange Regional Medical Center, Emergency Department, 707 E. Main Street, Middletown, NY, between 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on February 21, 2018