The County Executive’s Corner: Measles Rising Across the Country (By County Executive Ed Day)

As many of you already know, we are once again facing a new health concern in the United States, as measles cases spike both nationwide and globally.

According to the CDC, as of April 11th, 2024, a total of 121 measles cases were reported in 18 jurisdictions: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, New York State, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. That’s double what was reported back in March by the agency.

Nearly half of the cases are in children under 5 years old who haven’t received the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccinations.

 All children should receive an MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age.

 A 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.

 Adults who have had only one dose of vaccine in the past are recommended to get a second dose of vaccine for the best protection.

 Adults who are unsure of their immunization status may try to get their immunization records OR discuss testing for immunity with their physician.

 Anyone who travels internationally should have two doses of MMR vaccine.

 Children 6 to 11 months of age who are travelling outside the U.S. should receive one dose of MMR prior to international travel.

Measles is one of the most contagious viruses on earth with 90% of unvaccinated people exposed to the virus become infected. You can catch measles by being in the same room with a person with measles up to 2 hours after an infected person leaves a room and even before the infected person develops a rash.

Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis (red, watery eyes), or runny nose and usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure.

To successfully prevent measles from resurfacing in this county we need cooperation from all communities. I urge our residents to get vaccinated immediately not just for measles, but for any vaccine preventable disease.

The Rockland County Health Department is committed to continuing these robust efforts to increase immunization coverage in the county to protect the health of all residents.

For more information about RCDOH immunization clinics call 845-364-2520.

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