Patient Zero in a potential measles outbreak in New York is an Australian tourist who visited the city on a Bible study tour, according to a public announcement by the state’s Department of Health warning visitors to hotels and tourist sites in Manhattan, Orange and Putnam counties of possible contamination.
The Australian visited an Urgent Care Center in Orange County, New York and the Orange Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department on Feb. 21, according to the department’s announcement.
The infected individual was a participant on an “Oasis Bible Tour group,” and the areas he visited since Feb. 16 are highlighted as a health risk for possible contamination.
Measles can live up to two hours in the air or on surfaces. It’s highly contagious and spread through coughing, sneezing or even being in the same room with someone who has the virus.
Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes and is followed by a rash that spreads from the head to the rest of the body. It is a serious disease that often requires hospitalization and can lead to death.
The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was developed in the 1970s and mostly eradicated the virus in 2000. Yet outbreaks can occur among communities with low rates of vaccination and from travelers entering the U.S. who had contracted the virus abroad.
The New York Department of Health said they are warning people of an increased risk if they visited areas where the contaminated individual is known to have gone.
The list includes:
• La Quinta Inn, 31 W. 71st St., New York, N.Y., between Feb. 16 and the morning of Feb. 19, 2018.
• Oasis Bible Tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave., New York, N.Y., the morning of Feb. 16 and the evening of Feb. 17, 2018.
• Watchtower Educational Center, 100 Watchtower Drive, Patterson, N.Y., between 12:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2018.
• Best Western Hotel, 1324 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y., from Feb. 19 until noon on Feb. 20, 2018.
• Comfort Inn & Suites Goshen–Middletown, 20 Hatfield Lane, Goshen, N.Y., from 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 20 until 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2018.
• Excel Urgent Care, 1 Hatfield Lane, Goshen, N.Y., between 8 and 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2018.
• Orange Regional Medical Center, Emergency Department, 707 E. Main St., Middletown, N.Y., between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Feb. 21, 2018.