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New York State Department of Health warns of potential measles exposures

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Wed, May 24th 2017 09:00 am
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) announced on Tuesday that a tourist from India who has been confirmed to have measles visited a New York State Thruway Travel Plaza in Herkimer County, a Monroe County hotel, Niagara Falls State Park, and a Niagara Falls restaurant between May 11-12, 2017, potentially exposing others to measles.
 
Anyone who visited the following locations may have been exposed:
 
•The Iroquois Travel Plaza (rest stop) between Exit 29 (Canajoharie) and Exit 29A (Little Falls) on the NYS Thruway between 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. May 11-12. 

 
•The Hampton Inn, 4873 Lake Road, Brockport, between midnight and noon on May 12. 

 
•Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, between 11 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on May 12, which includes the Maid of the Mist. 

 
•Swagat Fine Indian Cuisine, 24 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls, between 2-6 p.m. on May 12. 

 
These times reflect the period that the infected individual was in these areas and a two-hour period after the individual left the area, as the virus remains alive in air and on surfaces for up to two hours. This explains the overlap in times. There is no longer a risk associated with visiting these locations.
 
Individuals are not at risk of contracting measles if they are immune. A person is unlikely to get measles if they were born before January 1, 1957, have received two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, or have a lab test confirming immunity.
 
Those individuals lacking immunity or not sure if they have been vaccinated, should contact their health care provider if they develop measles symptoms. Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis or runny nose. Symptoms usually appear in 10-12 days after exposure, although they may occur as late as June 2.
 
To prevent the spread of illness, the NYSDOH is advising individuals who may have been exposed and who have symptoms consistent with measles to contact their health care provider or a local emergency department before going for care. This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness.
 
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. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.
 
In the first stage, which lasts two to four days, the individual may have a runny nose, cough and a slight fever. Eyes may become reddened and sensitive to light, while the fever gradually rises each day, often peaking as high as 103° to 105° F. Small bluish white spots surrounded by a reddish area may also appear on the inside of the mouth.
 
The second stage begins on the third to seventh day and consists of a red, blotchy rash lasting five to six days. The rash usually begins on the face and then spreads downward and outward, reaching the hands and feet. The rash fades in the same order that it appeared, from head to extremities. A person can spread measles from four days before the onset of rash through four days after the rash begins. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.
 
The NYSDOH said the single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated. Individuals should receive two doses of MMR vaccine to be protected. If a person is unsure if they are immune, they should contact their health care provider. The first dose should be given at 12-15 months of age, and the second dose should be given at 4 to 6 years of age (age of school entry). In New York state, measles immunization is required of children enrolled in schools, day care, and pre-kindergarten. Since August 1990, college students have also been required to demonstrate immunity against measles.
 
The Monroe County Health Department has alerted Rochester-area health care providers of the measles exposure and is working with the hotel to identify staff and guests who may have been exposed to provide education and guidance.
 
The Niagara County Health Department has contacted Niagara Falls officials to provide guidance regarding potential exposures to measles. The county health department is also notifying local health care providers regarding the measles exposures.
 
The Herkimer County Health Department is notifying local health care providers about the measles exposure.
NYSDOH is partnering with local county health departments and has issued a statewide health advisory to health care providers to notify them of the potential exposure. Health care providers should report all suspected cases of measles to their county health department.
 
More information about measles can be found at https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2170/. Health care providers should report all suspect cases of measles to the Niagara County Department of Health communicable disease program at 716-278-8598.

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