At the end of September 2018, an international traveler arrived in Rockland County with a suspected case of the measles. Per protocol, the Rockland County Department of Health (RCDOH) was notified and immediately activated its Communicable Disease Team to investigate. There have been additional cases of measles from international travelers to Rockland, exposing more people to measles. People who are unvaccinated risk getting infected with measles and spreading it to others.
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.
Since measles is highly contagious, the Health Department, with additional support from the New York State Department of Health and local partners, is working to limit exposures and offer free vaccine to boost the county’s immunization rate and protect its residents from the harmful effects of the measles virus.
The RCDOH, Refuah Health Center, and private pediatricians and family doctors have administered over 10,000 doses of MMR vaccine.
To prevent the spread of illness, the Department is advising individuals who may have been exposed and who have symptoms consistent with measles to contact their health care provider, a local clinic, or a local emergency department before going for care. This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness. Residents who have been asked by a health care provider to “watch for measles”, or who are otherwise ill – including flu-like symptoms, are advised to stay home and not go out in public.
The Measles Vaccine
A safe and effective measles vaccine that can prevent suffering and death has been available for more than 50 years. For more information click here Opens a New Window. .
Measles Vaccine Recommendations:
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.
There may be medical reasons not to get the MMR vaccine, speak to your health care provider.