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New York Fears Australian Tourist May Have Spread Measles In Early February

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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.

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

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

Potential Measles Exposure

The New York State Department of Health put out the warning on Friday, Feb. 23, advising those without immunizations to seek medical attention if they develop symptoms of measles.

Those who have already received the immunization have a low chance of contracting the disease.  

In the warning, the New York State DOH included a rundown of the locations where the tourist was known to have traveled. This included hotels, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and medical facilities as the disease worsened.

Here is the list of locations visited by the tourist:

Feb. 16-19 - La Quinta Inn - 31 West 71st St. New York

Feb. 16-17 - Oasis Bible Tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave., New York

Feb. 19 - Watchtower Educational Center, 100 Watchtower Dr., Patterson, New York

Feb. 19-20 - Best Western Hotel, 1324 Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn, New York

Feb. 20-21 - Comfort Inn & Suites Goshen - Middletown, 20 Hatfield Lane, Goshen, New York

Feb. 21 - Excel Urgent Care, 1 Hatfield Lane, Goshen, New York

Feb. 21 - Orange Regional Medical Center, Emergency Department, 707 East Main St., Middletown, New York

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

Measles has a two-hour lifespan when the virus is airborne. There has been a problem keeping measles under control with the growing "anti-vaxxer" movement that has created pockets of resistance to children receiving the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines, a common cocktail that people receive against such illnesses.

Known Measles Outbreaks

Measles infections have grown over the last few years. In Europe alone, at least 35 children died of measles in 2016. Cases of measles in the continent grew from 5,273 in 2016 to 21,315 in 2017.

In 2015, an outbreak occurred in a hotbed of the anti-vaxxer community, Disneyland in Orange County, California. There were 62 confirmed cases of measles, including five Disneyland employees. Health officials warned those who were not immunized against measles to avoid visiting the theme park.

Visitors from Utah, Washington state, Colorado, Oregon, and Mexico contracted measles from visiting Disneyland at that period of time.

The growing anti-vaxxer movement is making it harder for children to be immunized against dangerous diseases. Anti-vaccination science has been disproved, and it's been shown that anti-vaccine websites use "distorted" science. 

Those in the anti-vaccination movement makes claims such as vaccines giving children autism or mercury being present in vaccines. Government bodies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had to put out statements refuting the claims made by anti-vaxxers with the hope of stopping the spread of false information.

This movement poses a threat to children. Parents are keeping the children from being properly immunized. There are some parents who choose to vaccinate their children but opt to remove them from the regular vaccine schedule by adding more space between vaccines. 

Before the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1960, nine out of every 10 children got measles before the age of 15. Two million people died each year from measles. 

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