The Orange County Department of Health is advising residents that the number of confirmed measles cases in the County is now 20 and that there has continued to be a steady increase in the number of cases in the Hudson Valley and New York City region.
“With friends and family getting together for the Passover and Easter Holidays, we are especially concerned about the spread of measles which is highly contagious,” stated Commissioner of Health Dr. Irina Gelman.
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 inside of the mouth.
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 lower extremities. A person can spread measles from four days before the onset of rash through four days after the rash begins. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.
Common complications from measles include diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia. Measles can cause serious illness requiring hospitalization. Some people will die from complications. Measles during pregnancy increases the risk of early labor, miscarriage and low birth weight infants. Measles can be more severe in people with weak immune systems.
The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated. Children 12 months of age and older and adults are recommended to receive two doses of MMR vaccine, given at least 28 days apart, to be optimally protected. For more information about measles, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2170/