NEW YORK, March 7 (UPI) -- The New York City Health Department said Friday it has identified 16 cases of measles -- seven adult, nine pediatric -- in northern Manhattan and the Bronx.
New Yorkers are urged to make sure all household members, including young children, are vaccinated. To date, there have been four hospitalizations as a result of this outbreak, officials at the Health Department said.
The city Health Department is working with New York City hospitals to prevent additional exposure to the virus in emergency departments.
"Measles is a highly contagious viral infection characterized by a generalized rash and high fever, accompanied by cough, red eyes, and runny nose, lasting five to six days. The illness typically begins with a rash on the face and then moves down the body, and may include the palms of the hands and soles of the feet," the Health Department said in a statement.
"People who contract the measles virus can spread the infection for four days before developing a rash, and for four days after the rash sets in. Measles can spread easily through the air to unprotected individuals. If you suspect you have measles, call and explain your symptoms to your doctor or medical provider BEFORE leaving to avoid exposing others to the measles virus."
In addition, the Health Department is also asking pediatric-care facilities in Manhattan and the Bronx to identify and vaccinate children who have not received the MMR vaccine (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) and to give the second dose of MMR vaccine to children at the next medical visit.
Adults unsure of their vaccination history can be revaccinated or obtain a blood test to see if they are immune, officials said. Several adults included in this outbreak thought they had been vaccinated.
As many as 1-in-3 people with measles develop complications including pneumonia, miscarriage, brain inflammation, hospitalization and even death. Infants age 1 and younger, people who have a weakened immune system and non-immune pregnant women are at highest risk of severe illness and complications, health officials said.