In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in Rockland County, NY, local health officials now put the outbreak total at 83, as of Nov. 28.

The measles outbreak in Rockland is not limited to one community however it is affecting residents of Spring Valley, New Square, and Monsey. Due to Rockland County’s small geographic size, exposure to the measles may occur ANYWHERE in Rockland. People may shop, dine, and run errands around the county before they realize they are ill, but are contagious.

In addition, anyone who visited the following locations in Spring Valley and West Nyack may have been exposed to measles:

  • Compare Supermarket on 11/22/2018 between 7 pm – 9:30 pm
    210 N. Main Street, Spring Valley, NY 10977
  • Jalapa Express on 11/24/2018 between 5:30 pm – 7:45 pm
    10 S. Main Street, Spring Valley, NY
  • Best Buy in Palisades Mall (entered and exited through outside entrance and did NOT enter the Mall itself) on 11/24/2018 between 7 pm – 9:30 pm
    1240 Palisades Center Drive, W. Nyack, NY 10994

These times reflect the period that the infected individual was in these areas and a two-hour period after the individual left the area, as the virus remains alive in air and on surfaces for up to two hours. If you were present at these locations during these times, and are in any of the following high-risk groups, contact your health care provider by phone right away:

  • Pregnant
  • A child under 6 months of age
  • Immunocompromised or immunosuppressed (when your body can’t fight disease)
  • Have not been vaccinated against the measles
  • Were born before 1957 and are immunosuppressed

The Health Department is actively working to contain the further spread of measles. As a result, if you are ill with a fever, rash, or conjunctivitis (red watery eyes) – help protect our community by staying home, not having visitors, and not going out in public.

This was a patient who presented with Koplik’s spots on palate due to pre-eruptive measles on day 3 of the illness./CDC
This was a patient who presented with Koplik’s spots on palate due to pre-eruptive measles on day 3 of the illness./CDC

The best way to prevent measles is to remain up-to-date with your measles vaccination. “We continue to encourage everyone to be up-to-date with the measles, mumps, rubella (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 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.

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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.

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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.