Measles Outbreak Hits Northern Manhattan and Bronx

By Amy Zimmer on March 7, 2014 2:17pm 

 A measles outbreak hit Northern Manhattan and the Bronx.
A measles outbreak hit Northern Manhattan and the Bronx.
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MANHATTAN — A measles outbreak in Northern Manhattan and The Bronx has infected at least nine children and seven adults, the Health Department said Friday.

Four of the 16 people with confirmed cases of the highly contagious virus were hospitalized.

As health officials investigated the outbreak, they asked New Yorkers who suspect they have the illness to contact their medical providers before visiting the doctors' office, to avoid exposing others.  

The measles typically begins with a rash on the face and then moves down the body. Infected individuals also usually have a high fever, cough, red eyes and runny nose, which usually lasts five to six days.

Health officials were urging people to make sure they were vaccinated against the illness

Several of the adults affected by this outbreak thought they had been vaccinated but lacked documentation of their shots, officials said, noting that adults can be revaccinated or obtain a blood test to see if they’re immune. Infants should be vaccinated when they turn 12 months old.

Four of the children affected by the outbreak were under a year old, according to officials. Three of the children were between the ages of 13 and 15 months, and two were not vaccinated because their parents refused to innoculate them.

The department asked pediatric facilities in Manhattan and The Bronx to identify and vaccinate children who have not received the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and to give the second dose of MMR vaccine to children — usually given when kids are 4 to 6 years old — at their next medical visit.

Officials from New York-Presbyterian Hospital, who identified cases primarily in Washington Heights, said they are taking necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of patients.

“We are working closely with the Health Department on its efforts to educate the community and to help prevent further spread of the measles,” said a statement from the hospital network, which runs the Columbia University Medical Center and Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in Washington Heights.

There was a measles outbreak in 2013 that infected at least 55 individuals in Borough Park and Williamsburg.

As many as one in three people with measles develop complications including pneumonia, miscarriage, brain inflammation and even death, the Health Department warned. Infants under a year, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women face highest risk of severe illness and complications.

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