Local health officials tight-lipped about measles patient's travels in N.O.

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - City and state health officials are working to track down anyone who may have come into contact with a measles carrier from the United Kingdom who is now being treated at a New Orleans hospital. It's the first reported case of measles in Louisiana in 10 years.

"I wasn't  before you told us about it, but I don't think it should be a problem," said Austrian tourist Mario Moro.

For the first time since 2008, a case of measles has shown up in Louisiana in  a visitor from the UK who flew into New Orleans last Thursday. Officials say he visited two hotels and a public event.

"He is in isolation and continues his treatment and recovery," said Dr. Parham Jaberi with the Louisiana Department of Health.

Health officials are reaching out to the hotels, the airline and the event organizers to find out who may have come into contact with the measles carrier.

When asked if tourists in town for Wrestlemania should be concerned, the city's health director said not necessarily.

"I don't think so," said Dr. Joseph Kanter. "I think if anyone's been vaccinated, they're in a good place."

But officials aren't saying which hotels or event the measles carrier visited.

"The reason we are hesitating on releasing that information is we don't want to cause undue alarm," Jaberi said. "Why? This individual, he's in a country where most have been vaccinated."

But those who haven't been vaccinated should consider their options.

"It's a very contagious disease. We take extra precautions if he came in contact with pregnant women," Jaberi said.

Doctors say one in 1,000 measles carriers are at risk of dying.

"Any locals who aren't vaccinated should go now," said Kanter.

In 2015, the CDC says more than 100 measles cases arose from one carrier at California's Disneyland theme park, but even though the carrier may have come into contact with people in town for Wrestlemania, health officials are not concerned about widespread measles here.

"Because in California, there were pockets where the un-vaccinated rate was very high," Kanter said.

Here the measles vaccination rate is estimated at 95%, but many are still concerned.

"Since I've been vaccinated, I'm okay, but a lot haven't been, and we could have a measles outbreak, and that would be awful," said Ohio visitor Elizabeth Root.

Officials say if you were born before 1957, you are considered immune to measles and don't need to be vaccinated. That's because most people born before 1957 are likely to have been infected naturally and therefore are presumed to be protected.

To check your vaccination records, you can go to the state health department website. From the LDH home page, click Public Health and then Community and Preventive Health. Get Vaccination Records is the first link under helpful links.

You can also call 311 if you have any questions.

Officials say you can contact your doctor or go to a city health unit where you can get the vaccine for as little as $10.

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