An animated explanation of the measles.
Chris Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
In the midst of Rockland’s measles outbreak, the county Health Department is increasing the number of schools affected by its vaccination order and the number of unvaccinated students who will have to be kept at home.
All schools within the Village of New Square and any school with less than an 80 percent MMR vaccination rate within the area affected by the measles outbreak (Spring Valley and 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 percent MMR vaccination rate.
Nine more schools are affected by this change, bringing the total number to 34 affected schools.
As of Friday evening, there were 55 confirmed cases of measles with nine suspected cases under investigation by the county Department of Health.
Questions about if this order affects your child’s school can be directed to the state Department of Health toll-free Measles Information Line at 888-364-4837.
Health department recommendations
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, according to the Rockland County Health Department.
Anyone who is unsure if they are immune to measles should contact their 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 percent 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.
There are currently no MMR clinics scheduled from the Rockland County Department of Health. To receive a dose of the MMR vaccine, residents are being advised to visit their local health care provider.
What is measles?
- Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people.
- Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children, as it can lead to pneumonia, brain damage, deafness, and death.
- Others who are at high risk for complications if they get the measles include pregnant women who are not immune, as well as those who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed (when your body can’t fight disease).
- About one out of four people who get measles will be hospitalized.
- Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis (red watery eyes) or runny nose.
- People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash.
- Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure.
Residents can get more information about measles by visiting www.health.ny.gov/publications/2170.pdf and by calling the state Department of Health toll-free Measles Information Line at (888) 364-4837.
- The Health Department is asking all health care providers to immediately report all cases of suspect measles to the Rockland County Department of Health Communicable Disease Program staff by calling 845-364-2997 during normal business hours, or 845-364-8600 after hours/weekends.
- Health Care Providers can call this number for additional information.
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