An Australian tourist leaves behind Measles virus everywhere in NYC

Marsha Scott
March 1, 2018

The New York State Department of Health issued a warning for New York City and surrounding areas that an Australian tourist known to have measles stayed at various hotels and also visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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

For the duration of the 16 and 17, the Australian was part of an Oasis Bible Tour group that toured the Met.

Best Western Hotel, 1324 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, from February 19 until 12 p.m. on February 20.

The virus remains alive in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours after the carrier leaves the area, and is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions by infected people.

It warned anyone who had not been immunised should contact their health provider if they developed symptoms, which include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis or a runny nose.

Measles can be a highly contagious disease for those who don't have immunity to it.

The tourist stayed in the city from February 16 to 21.

New York City's large population and density are a cause for concern against a possible measles outbreak.

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The risk for developing measles is very low, especially for people who have been immunized.

Measles was declared eliminated from the USA in 2000, meaning that any native reservoir of the virus has been cleared out (the virus only infects humans). Individuals should receive two doses of MMR vaccine to be protected.

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

From Jan. 1-27, nine people from four states-Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana and Texas-were reported to have measles, the CDC said.

In 2015, an outbreak occurred in a hotbed of the anti-vaxxer community, Disneyland in Orange County, California. That danger is also less for people who have been vaccinated versus it.

And in 2014, the United States saw a record number of measles cases, with 667 cases from 27 states-the highest number since measles was eliminated in the United States in 2000.

Measles infections have grown over the last few years. But there are still pockets where coverage rates are below 75 per cent.

Australia also appears to be the country of anti-vax activist Stephanie Messenger, who in 2012 self-published a children's book about the joys of a disease that once killed 2.6 million people annually: Melanie's Marvelous Measles.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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