The infected child was at Cohen Children's Medical Center last week,...

The infected child was at Cohen Children's Medical Center last week, according to health officials. Credit: Jeff Bachner

The Nassau County Department of Health is alerting the public to the possibility of exposure to measles at Cohen Children’s Medical Center on Wednesday and Thursday, the department announced Sunday.

The health department said anyone who was at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center Emergency Department waiting room and treatment area, at 269-01 76 Ave. on the Queens-Nassau border, from 6:45 p.m. on March 20, to 3:30 p.m. on March 21, was possibly exposed to measles.

“These times reflect the potential exposure period when the infected individual was in the identified areas,” the health department said in a news release.

State health officials on Friday night announced that a Nassau resident was the first confirmed measles case in the county since 2019 and the third case in New York State this year. On Saturday, state and county officials said the patient was a child. Officials said Sunday the child was under 5 years old.

State officials also said Saturday that the child, who lives in an undisclosed Nassau community, was hospitalized, but they did not elaborate on the child's condition.

Jason Molinet, a spokesman for the medical center, said in a statement that “Cohen Children’s Medical Center … is working closely with state and local health officials after it was determined that a patient who presented at the emergency department was found to have measles.”

“The patient was isolated and admitted on March 21 and is currently in stable condition,” the statement said. “Measles is a highly infectious viral respiratory illness for the unvaccinated.”

Medical center staff are contacting patients who visited the emergency department at the time of the potential exposure and have identified patients who are high risk and may require timely treatment, Molinet said.

Experts say measles is a highly contagious disease for anyone not vaccinated with the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, or who is not otherwise immune. The vaccine is given in two doses, first between 12 and 15 months old, and later between ages 4 and 6.

Individuals are considered protected or immune to measles if they were born before 1957, have received two doses of the MMR vaccine, have had measles, or have a lab test confirming immunity.

Measles can be more serious for children under 5 years old, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Measles can be spread by breathing contaminated air or touching an infected surface. The virus can live in the air for up to two hours after a person has left a room.

The Nassau health department advises individuals who may have been exposed to measles and who have symptoms to contact their health care provider, a health clinic or emergency department before showing up for care. Symptoms for measles include, but are not limited to, fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis and runny nose, according to the department.

The two other measles cases in the state were in New York City, health officials said.

With Lorena Mongelli

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