Measles Outbreak Means Symptom Awareness

MeaslesA measles outbreak in New York means it is important to be aware of the symptoms. The Bronx and Manhattan have seen 16 people infected with measles. The city Health Department said that out of those 16 cases, seven were adults and nine were children.  Four of these individuals have been hospitalized.

The specific neighborhoods in Manhattan that are seeing the outbreaks are Inwood Hill Park, Hudson Heights, and  Washington Heights. The Bronx neighborhoods experiencing an outbreak are Melrose and Mount Hope. Residents in Inwood Hill felt that they were not informed of the outbreaks in a timely manner.

Dr. Jay Varma, deputy health commissioner, said, “Of the cases that have occurred in kids, most of them have been in kids that were too young to be vaccinated. But we’ve also seen two cases that have occurred in people whose parents refused to have their children be vaccinated.” Varma stressed the importance of vaccines saying, “If you are a parent and you have a child who is eligible for the measles vaccine, that means they’re at least one year of age or older, you should make sure they get vaccinated immediately.”

Investigators are still trying to pin down where the outbreak originated. The adults who are infected are aged 22 to 63. Officials are urging that immediate medical attention be received if an individual is displaying symptoms of measles. Officials are also working with hospitals in order to prevent spreading of the disease in emergency rooms.

Though measles typically goes away on its own, it can cause serious complications. These complications include miscarriage, brain inflammation, and death. With such a serious disease, and an alarming outbreak, it means that it is important to be aware of measles symptoms.

Generally, measles start with a sore throat, runny nose, cough, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and a mild or moderate fever. The individual may also feel tired or run down. Koplik’s spots, which are tiny white spots that have a bluish center, may appear in the mouth around two or three days after the onset of symptoms. The blotchy rash, which is red or reddish-brown, typically appears three to five days after symptoms begin. Normally the rash will begin on the face of the infected individual, around the hairline. The rash then spreads, descending to the neck, the trunk, the arms, onto the legs, and finally onto the feet. Measles typically last for a few days, ending when the fever goes down and the rash diminishes.

Because there is not a specific treatment, measles has to run its course. It is still important to seek medical attention if an individual is experiencing any of the symptoms, or if it is suspected that an individual has come into contact with an infected person. Bed rest, using a humidifier, and taking acetaminophen might be helpful. Doctors may recommend Vitamin A supplements for children diagnosed with measles.

Nancy Levcel, resident in Parkchester, NY, remembers what it felt like to have the measles. “It felt like a fever, you got very itchy, and all of these little bumps were all over your body. It was a lot of pain,” she explained. “It lasted like a month or two.”

This current measles outbreak means that one must have an awareness of symptoms. Seek immediate medical attention if displaying symptoms of measles. Again, vaccination can help prevent measles, so consider that as a possibility for adults and children who are not vaccinated.

By Ashley Campbell

Sources:

CBS New York
New York Post
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The New York Times