At the end of September 2018, an international traveler arrived in Rockland County with a suspected case of the measles.
There have been additional cases of measles from international travelers to Rockland, exposing more people to measles. People who are unvaccinated risk getting infected with measles and spreading it to others.
These cases are presently clustered in eastern Ramapo (New Square, Spring Valley, Monsey), however due to Rockland County’s small geographic size, exposure to the measles may occur anywhere in the county.
As of November 9, 2018, there are 55 confirmed reported cases in Rockland County.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announce to residents that the Health Department is increasing school exclusions from the current 70% to 80% vaccination rate. This will affect a greater number of schools, meaning more students will have to remain home and be unable to attend school.
ALL schools within the Village of New Square and any school with less than an 80% MMR vaccination rate within the geographical area affected by the measles outbreak (Spring Valley, Monsey) will be required to keep un- or under-vaccinated students home until 21 days have passed since the last confirmed measles case in Rockland. This is a more restricted rate than the initial school exclusion that required schools with less than a 70% MMR vaccination rate to keep un- or under-vaccinated students home until 21 days passed since the last confirmed measles case in Rockland.
“We continue to encourage everyone to be up-to-date with the MMR vaccine to help protect them in case of any future exposure to measles in Rockland. Measles is highly contagious, so anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting the disease, and they may spread measles to people who cannot get vaccinated because they are too young or have specific health conditions,” said Dr. Ruppert.
Individuals are considered protected or immune to measles if they have had physician or provider-confirmed measles or have a lab test confirming immunity. Those born before 1957, and those who have received two doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, are also considered immune, however there is a very small chance that in this outbreak they may still get measles, but a much less severe case and much less likely to spread to others.
If you are unsure if you are immune to measles, contact your healthcare provider. Routinely, everyone four years and older needs two doses of MMR vaccine unless there are contraindications (medical reasons not to get the vaccine). Two doses of the MMR vaccine can offer 97% protection from the measles. Typically, the first dose of MMR vaccine should be given at 12-15 months of age and the second dose should be given at four to six years of age (age of school entry), although individuals may also be vaccinated later in life.
However, because there is a measles outbreak in Rockland County, the Rockland County Department of Health is currently recommending that children 6 months through 11 months of age get an MMR vaccine now. They will still have to get a vaccine at 12-15 months of age and again at 4-6 years of age, however getting an MMR vaccine now will help give them some protection against measles. Therefore, any child 6 months or older or any adult who has not received their first MMR vaccine yet should get their first MMR vaccine now.
Also, children 1 through 3 years of age who have already received their first MMR vaccine should get a second MMR vaccine now, as long as 28 days have passed since the first MMR vaccine was given to them. This second MMR vaccine will count for school entry. In New York State, measles immunization is required of children enrolled in schools, daycare, and pre-kindergarten. Since August 1990, college students have also been required to demonstrate immunity against measles.
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