An Australian tourist infected with measles visited several locations in New York City, included the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art, before seeking treatment, health officials warned Saturday.
The New York State Department of Health said in a news release the sightseer was visiting between Feb. 16 and Feb. 21 and stayed at several hotels in the greater-New York area.
The visitor originally checked into a La Quinta Inn on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Feb. 16, where the person stayed until Feb. 19, according to health officials. During that time period, the sick person was part of an Oasis Bible Tour group at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Feb. 16 and the evening of Feb. 17.
After checking out of the Manhattan hotel, the tourist then stayed overnight at a Best Western Hotel on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn from Feb. 19 to Feb. 20 before staying at the Comfort Inn & Suites Goshen in Orange County until Feb. 21, according to the health department.
The tourist also made a trip to the Watchtower Educational Center in Putnam County during that time period.
The person eventually sought treatment at an urgent care in Goshen, located about 66 miles north of New York City, and was taken to Orange County Regional Medical Center.
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, according to health officials. “People first develop a fever, then may have a cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by appearance of the rash,” the DOH said.
The virus can also remain alive in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours.
“Those individuals lacking immunity or who are not sure if they have been vaccinated, should contact their health care provider if they develop measles symptoms,” the health department warned. “Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis or runny nose. Symptoms usually appear in 10-12 days after exposure. Individuals who may have been exposed and who lack immunity could begin experiencing symptoms at this time.”
Dr. Robert Glatter with Lenox Hill Hospital told ABC7 that people are contagious about a week after symptoms begin, and someone can get measles just by being in the room of someone else infected.
“Somebody who is sneezing and coughing puts others at risk,” Glatter said.
Last year, The World Health Organization said that measles cases in Europe skyrocketed with at least 35 children who died from the highly-infectious disease.
The biggest outbreak was in Romania, where there were 5,562 cases. In that country, the large rural population often do not vaccinate their children and may not take them to hospitals promptly when they fall ill, The New York Times reported at the time.