Jennifer Vazquez

Rockland County Measles Outbreak Reaches 68 Cases, More Students Ordered to Stay Home

What to Know

  • Rockland County measles outbreak continues to rise as officials announced Tuesday the latest numbers: 68 confirmed and 11 suspected cases
  • Rockland County has been grappling with a measles outbreak in recent weeks — even asking students who are unvaccinated to not attend school
  • Rockland County isn't only local area dealing with a measles outbreak, as Brooklyn has faced confirmed measles cases in recent weeks also

The Rockland County measles outbreak continues to rise as officials announced Tuesday the latest numbers of 68 confirmed and 11 suspected cases.

Rockland County has been grappling with a measles outbreak in recent weeks — even asking students who are unvaccinated to not attend school.

Health officials announced Friday that they are expanding school exclusions from the current 70 percent to an 80 percent vaccination rate. This means, 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 will be required to keep un- or under-vaccinated students home until 21 days have passes since the last confirmed measles case in Rockland County.

Some of the afflicted picking it up during travel to Israel, and others being infected after being exposed to a person with measles.

"Although measles is preventable, too many families are choosing to not vaccinate or delay vaccination, putting their children and other children at risk," said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

Children who develop a fever and rash should be kept home from school or day care while they seek doctor's treatment.

To prevent the spread of illness, the Rockland County Health Department advises anyone who may have measles to contact their health care provider, local clinic, or local emergency department before going for care. This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness.

Measles is a highly contagious disease. Young children, the immunocompromised, and non-immune pregnant women are at highest risk for severe complications. Measles is transmitted by airborne particles, droplets, and direct contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person.

Measles typically presents in adults and children as an acute viral illness characterized by fever and generalized rash. The rash usually starts on the face, proceeds down the body, and may include the palms and soles. The rash lasts several days. Infected individuals are contagious from four days before rash onset through the fourth day after rash appearance.

Rockland officials encourage everyone to be up-to-date with the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine to help protect them in case of any future exposure to measles in Rockland.

The Health Department held vaccine clinics in response to the growing number of cases.

Rockland County is not the only local area dealing with a measles outbreak, as Brooklyn has faced confirmed measles cases in recent weeks as well.

Health officials say it's important to make sure the entire family is vaccinated before traveling overseas. In addition to the large outbreak currently going on in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel, there are large outbreaks in Europe; in the first six months of 2018, over 41,000 cases of measles and 37 deaths have been reported.

Countries most affected include Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, Greece, Romania, Italy, France, Slovakia, Russia and the United Kingdom, although all countries in Europe have reported cases. There are also outbreaks in many other parts of the world, including countries in Asia, South America and Africa.

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