Possible measles exposure reported at Cohen Children's Medical Center

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Possible measles exposure reported at Cohen Children's Medical Center
Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park. (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health)

Visitors of Cohen Children’s Medical Center may have been exposed to measles last week as multiple health departments and agencies investigate the confirmed case, according to the Nassau County Department of Health.

The case of an unvaccinated child with measles in Nassau County who visited Cohen was confirmed, according to the department. The child is said to be less than 5 years old.

The county department issued an alert Monday that individuals who were in the emergency department waiting room and treatment area of the New Hyde Park medical center on Wednesday and Thursday may have been exposed to the virus.

The time frame of the potential exposure is estimated to have occurred at Cohen from 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The child diagnosed with measles was said to have been in the medical center’s Emergency Department waiting room and treatment area during this time. The youngster has been hospitalized with the necessary infection control procedures, the state Health Department said.

This is the third measles case reported in the state this year, according to the New York State Department of Health, which said a “global and domestic increase in measles cases” is occurring.

“We're continuing to investigate this case history in partnership with Nassau County health officials who have also begun contact tracing. The measles cases we are seeing in New York, around the country and around the world, are a clear indication that our immunization rates are at a dangerously low level,” state Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. “Our message is clear: if your child has not been immunized for measles with a two-dose Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine, also known as MMR, as the state's doctor I strongly urge you to do so immediately.”

Although the third measles case in the state this year, the Nassau County case is the first to occur outside New York City in 2024.

The Nassau County Health Department said Cohen has already begun contacting patients who were in the Emergency Department during this time. The medical center has also identified high-risk patients who were potentially exposed and may need timely treatment.

To prevent exposure and spreading of the virus, the Nassau County Health Department asked that individuals who may have been exposed to measles and develop symptoms contact their healthcare provider, a local clinic or a local emergency department before arriving for treatment.

Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus spread through coughing or sneezing into the air, according to the state Health Department. It is considered to be highly contagious.

Symptoms include but are not limited to fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis or runny nose.

The virus can be contracted by breathing it in through the air or by touching an infected surface and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth, according to the state health department.

Individuals are considered protected from or immune to measles if they were born before 1957, have received two doses of measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, have had measles disease or have a lab test confirming immunity, according to the county Health

department.

“The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated,” the Nassau County Department of Health stated in a release. “The risk of developing measles is very low for people who have been vaccinated or are immune.”

Individuals who are not protected from or immune to the virus are considered to be at risk of developing measles after exposure, according to the county Health Department.

Nassau County Department of Health is investigating the case alongside the New York State Department of Health, New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and Northwell Health. They also said they are working to prevent further infection.

The county Health Department recommends individuals with further questions about the virus to contact their healthcare provider.

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