GOSHEN – A measles case has been confirmed in a resident of Orange County. Since measles is circulating in the area, the Orange County Department of Health would like to advise anyone with rash and fever to call their medical provider, their local health department, or the emergency room before going for care so that others are not exposed in a waiting room. Any physician or other medical provider who suspects measles in a patient should call their local health department immediately for assistance with appropriate testing and infection control. All identified individuals who may have been exposed to measles have been contacted by the Orange County Department of Health and advised to follow up with their health care providers.
Individuals are not at risk of contracting measles if they are immune. A person is considered immune if he or she has received two doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine OR if born before January 1, 1957, OR has a history of laboratory-confirmed measles OR has a blood test confirming measles immunity.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can lead to serious side effects and, in rare cases, death. Measles symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days, but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.
In the first stage, which lasts two to four days, the individual may have a runny nose, cough and a slight fever. Eyes may become reddened and sensitive to light while the fever gradually rises each day, often peaking as high as 103° to 105° F. Small bluish white spots surrounded by a reddish area may also appear on the gums and inside of the cheeks.
The second stage begins on the third to seventh day and consists of a red blotchy rash lasting five to six days. The rash usually begins on the face and then spreads downward and outward, reaching the hands and feet. The rash fades in the same order that it appeared, from head to extremities. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.
The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated. Most New Yorkers have been vaccinated, but if unsure, they should check with their physician. Individuals should receive two doses of MMR vaccine to be protected. The first dose should be given at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose is routinely given at 4 to 6 years of age, but may be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose. Anyone at any age who is not immune to measles, and has no condition that would prohibit them from receiving the vaccine, should receive two doses of MMR vaccine at least 28 days apart.
The Health Department is asking all health providers to immediately report all cases of suspected measles to the Orange County Department of Health by calling 845-291-2330, 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Your provider may do additional testing to confirm the diagnosis.
It is also important to note that travelers should be up-to-date on their vaccinations; since January 2014 there have been about half a dozen cases of measles reported in the United States from travelers to foreign countries.
More information about measles can be found at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/measles/fact_sheet.htm.