NYC measles outbreak grows - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

NYC measles outbreak grows

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

New York City's Health Department announced four new cases of measles -- two pediatric and two adults in the past week. That brings the total number of measles cases to 25 in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. Most of these new cases of the measles are from a new area of the city. Three cases on the Lower East Side and one from the main epicenter of the measles outbreak, northern Manhattan.

This New York City outbreak of measles, a highly contagious virus, began in Washington Heights from one person who got infected overseas, experts say.

Measles spreads easily through the air, says the Health Department. A simple cough or sneeze can spread it. The measles virus survives two hours on surfaces. If a person has measles, 90 percent of his or her close contacts are likely to get infected.

"Once you have a focal point -- East Side, West Side, Downtown -- it could spread easily," said Dr. Manny Alvarez. "You get on the bus somebody has it. You bring it to the neighborhood. A kid brings it to school and it spreads to other kids."

Dr. Alvarez said the key is vaccination of children. The problem is many parents are forgetting or opting out of the measles vaccine. He added that if a child gets measles to isolate the child from others until the contagious stage has passed.

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