Three cases of measles have been confirmed on the Lower East Side, bringing the total number of reported cases in New York City to 25 since February, the Health Department announced this week.

Twelve children and 13 adults have been affected, according to the Health Department. The earlier cases were in northern Manhattan and the Bronx.

"I urge New Yorkers to ensure all household members, including young children 12 months and older, are vaccinated," said the city's Health Commissioner, Mary Bassett. "Measles is highly contagious and can spread easily through the air."

Early symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and red, watery eyes, according to the Health Department.

The virus, which is very contagious, is spread through coughing and sneezing. It can cause serious complications such as pneumonia, seizures, infections of the brain and nervous system, and death.

Individuals who believe they have measles are advised to call a doctor before seeking medical attention so as not to expose others to the virus. Patients with measles should be immediately isolated, according to the Health Department.

During the last measles epidemic in the United States, 1989 through 1991, more than 55,000 cases and 123 deaths were reported.