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Measles case prompts call to monitor for disease, officials say

A measles vaccine is shown on a countertop

A measles vaccine is shown on a countertop at the Tamalpais Pediatrics clinic in Greenbrae, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. Photo Credit: AP / Eric Risberg

Suffolk health officials said an infant with a confirmed case of measles was examined at two medical facilities this month, and they are now urging anyone who might have been at those facilities at the same time to monitor themselves for the disease.

The infant, who had recently arrived from overseas, first was taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Room in West Islip on Jan. 19 between 5:57 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Suffolk health officials said in a statement Friday.

The child then was cared for at the HRHCare Martin Luther King Jr. Family Health Center in Wyandanch on Wednesday between 9:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m., they said.

Measles, which starts out like a cold, is highly contagious, and poses the most risk to children under one year old, pregnant women and immunocompromised people, health officials said.

After a laboratory confirmed the infant had measles, the Suffolk Department of Health Services, the state Department of Health, and the hospitals contacted people who might have been exposed.

But Suffolk said it also issued a public statement, as they might lack contact information for everyone who was at those facilities.

“We ask anyone who was at these locations and may have been exposed to be alert for symptoms and to contact their health care providers immediately if they experience symptoms,” Commissioner of Health Services James L. Tomarken said.

The disease might begin with a runny nose, cough and fever, and a patient’s eyes might become red and sensitive to light.

By the third day, the temperature might hit 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and a red, blotchy rash might appear on the face, before spreading over the body and lingering for four to seven days. Small white spots might develop in the mouth.

People who have documentation showing they have had two vaccines, a blood test showing they are immune, or those who were born in the U.S. before 1957 are considered immune, the county said.

Anyone else who might have been exposed and experiences symptoms should, if possible, call ahead before seeking help or tell the health care provider they fear they have measles as soon as possible, to help stop the disease from spreading.

Preventive vaccines can work if given within 72 hours of exposure, which for those exposed at the Wyandanch facility would be by Saturday. Immune globulin must be given within six days of exposure — or by Jan. 31 for those exposed at Wyandanch, the health officials said.

People who might have been exposed at Good Samaritan Hospital should call 631-376-3000. For those with questions about exposure at the HRHCare Martin Luther King Jr. Health Center, call 516-214-8020.

Health providers should report all cases of suspected measles to the county at 631-854-0333.

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