According to the Rockland County Health Department, 87 confirmed reported cases of measles have been reported in Rockland County as of Nov. 30.
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.
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Unfortunately, The Rockland County Government had to remove a recent measles update post on their Facebook page due to anti-Semitic commentary. According to the updated post:
Since October, there have been 34 confirmed cases of measles in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. The initial child was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease (in the lungs and breathing tubes) caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people (when a person infected with the measles virus breathes, coughs, or sneezes). Measles is one of the most contagious viruses on earth; one measles infected person can give the virus to 18 others. In fact, 90% of unvaccinated people exposed to the virus become infected. You can catch measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, up to 2 hours after that person is gone. And you can catch measles from an infected person even before they have a measles rash.
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Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure. Measles typically begins with
- high fever,
- runny nose (coryza), and
- red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis).
- Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth.
- Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may go up to more than 104° Fahrenheit.
- After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.
People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash.
A safe and effective measles vaccine that can prevent suffering and death has been available for more than 50 years.
Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended for maximum protection. One dose of the MMR vaccines can offer 93% protection from the measles. Two doses of the MMR vaccine can offer 97% protection from the measles. Typically, the first dose of MMR vaccine is given at 12-15 months of age and the second dose is given at four to six years of age (age of school entry), although individuals may also be vaccinated later in life.
Due to a measles outbreak in Rockland County, the Rockland County Department of Health recommends the following:
- Children 6 months through 11 months of age get an MMR vaccine now. Getting an MMR vaccine now will help give them some protection against measles. They will still have to get a vaccine at 12-15 months of age and again at 4-6 years of age.
- 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.
- Any adult who has not received their first MMR vaccine yet should get their first MMR vaccine now.
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