Measles Outbreak in the Hudson Valley: What You Need to Know
Orange and Rockland Counties report cases of the contagious disease.
Adobe Stock / ulkas
The measles outbreak continues to spread through the Hudson Valley.
Just when you thought you were free and clear of your chicken pox days, a rapidly spreading case of measles in the Hudson Valley will have you ready to add your doctor’s phone number to your speed dial list a.s.a.p. With the holidays right around the corner, here’s what you need to know about the outbreak and what you can do to stay healthy in the Hudson Valley.
September 2018: Month the first case of measles was reported in Rockland County
According to the Rockland County Government, the first case of measles came when an international traveler visited Rockland County with a suspected case of measles. Multiple cases in international visitors to Rockland followed, leading to increased exposure to the disease.
Eastern Ramapo: Location of outbreaks in Rockland County
Following the initial report, outbreaks of measles extended to eastern Ramapo, specifically to New Square, Spring Valley, and Monsey. In mid-October, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, the commissioner of the Rockland County Department of Health, issued a letter to schools with cases of students confirmed to have measles. According to Ruppert’s announcement, any unvaccinated students in those schools must remain home until 21 days pass from the date of the last exposure in the schools.
November 2018: Month the first case of measles was reported in Orange County
On November 21, Orange County reported its first case of measles in the region. The county warns that, since the disease is highly contagious, individuals who have not yet been vaccinated should contact a primary care provider for recommendations.
88: Number of confirmed reported cases in Rockland County
As of December 3, Rockland County reports close to 90 outbreaks of measles in the area. Government officials note that, because the county is so small, outbreaks can occur anywhere and spread rapidly. At the end of November, the disease touched the Palisades Mall when an individual with a confirmed case visited the popular destination.
What is measles?
According to the Rockland County Government, measles is “a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people.” As one of the most contagious diseases on the planet, it takes approximately seven to 14 days to appear following infection. After the incubation period, the disease mimics cold symptoms with the possibility of high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention warns just how infective the disease can be.
“Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people closest to that person who are not immune will also become infected,” the site declares.
After the cold symptoms settle in, tiny white spots inside the mouth may develop. Then a rash, which appears as flat red spots across the body, covers the skin. It remains for a few days before finally subsiding.
Prevention and treatment
Rockland County Department of Health advises any individuals who have been exposed to or who have symptoms that appear in line with measles to contact their health care provider. Any individuals who have not received the MMR vaccination and who want to protect against measles can ask about receiving a first dose of the two-dose vaccination treatment.