NEW YORK (PIX11) — The total number of measles cases in New York City has grown to 26 now that health officials confirmed two new patients have contracted the highly contagious virus.
The outbreak, which remains centered in northern Manhattan, includes 12 children and 14 adults, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Mary T. Bassett said Wednesday.
One of the two cases just announced was linked to travel abroad and now the domestic outbreak,
According to the city health department, seven of the children in the outbreak were too young to be vaccinated, or were within the 12-15 month window when vaccination is recommended. Two of the children were not vaccinated because of parental refusal. One child had received one does of the MMR vaccine, and another’s vaccination status is unknown.
Of the adult cases, nine had no documentation that they had been vaccinated, while five others had previously received the measles vaccine.
A highly contagious respiratory disease, measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and a characteristic rash all over the patient’s body, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Measles can be deadly, especially for children. The CDC estimates that out of 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die. Some 38 percent of measles patients under 5 were hospitalized because of the illness in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to the CDC.
The first several cases of measles in the city were reported by health officials March 7, when seven adults and nine children were confirmed to have the virus.
It’s been more than two weeks since the last NYC measles case was confirmed, Bassett said, calling the latest news a reminder that residents “must continue to remain vigilant.”
“New Yorkers, please do your part and make sure your family is vaccinated,” Bassett said.
Health officials suggest children get two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine – one between 12 and 15 months, and the other between 4 and 6 years old.
To help prevent future cases, Bassett called on urgent care centers, emergency departments and clinics to “promptly recognize” measles symptoms and take all necessary precautions.
Anyone who suspects they have measles should call their doctor before seeking medical attention to avoid exposing others to the virus.