Measles has been confirmed in an unvaccinated child in Nassau County, health officials say
Measles has been confirmed in an unvaccinated child in Nassau County, health officials say

An unvaccinated child in Nassau County has a confirmed case of measles, Nassau health officials said Saturday, the first case of measles in the state outside of New York and the third case nationwide this year.

State health officials announced the case Friday evening after the Nassau County child’s measles diagnosis was confirmed Friday by the state Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratory in Albany.

Information about the child and where in Nassau the patient lived has not been released. Nassau County health officials are monitoring the case with the state notifying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The Nassau County Health Department is closely investigating potential exposures and taking the necessary proactive steps to prevent the spread of measles,” Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman said in a statement Saturday morning. “We strongly encourage all residents to stay healthy by ensuring they are up-to-date on important life-saving immunizations.”

It is the third case this year in New York state after two people tested positive in New York, according to the state. There have also been recent cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as part of a global outbreak.

The last reported cases of measles in Nassau County were reported in September 2019, when two cases were confirmed in the county. The county health department said at the time that one case involved a foreign resident who had recently arrived in the country and was staying in a private home. Officials said another measles patient was riding on the Long Island Rail Road, which said it was taking extra measures to clean parts of its system in response.

The last confirmed case of measles in Suffolk County was reported in April of that year.

The disease is highly contagious to anyone who has not received two doses of the MMR – measles, mumps, rubella – vaccine. Those who are vaccinated are usually protected for life, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

“Our epidemiologists and department staff with the Vaccine Excellence and Epidemiology Divisions are working hand-in-hand with our experts at the Wadsworth Laboratory as well as Nassau County Health officials to monitor and investigate this case and any potential exposures,” said the state health commissioner dr. James McDonald said in a news release. “The most important thing people can do to protect themselves is to make sure they’ve been properly immunized against measles and get vaccinated immediately if they haven’t.”

Anyone who is unsure about their vaccination status should contact their doctor, officials said. Those born between 1957 and 1971 should check that their vaccines are reliable from that period. Those born before 1957 may have been exposed to the virus and are likely immune, health officials said.

Measles is usually spread by coughing or sneezing. Individuals can contract the disease by breathing in the virus or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Complications can include pneumonia, encephalitis, miscarriage, premature birth, hospitalization and death, state health officials said.

Symptoms include a high fever, cough and red eyes, followed three to five days later by a rash of red, raised bumps on the skin. The rash may be accompanied by a high fever of up to 104 degrees.

The disease can pass four days before the appearance of the rash

For the unimmunized, about nine out of 10 people exposed to the disease may be infected, according to the CDC. People can be quarantined for up to 21 days, according to the state health department.

With Lorena Mongelli

By admin

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