Measles Information

2018 - 2019 Measles Outbreak in Rockland County:

The outbreak was declared over on September 25, 2019.

As of September 25, 2019, there were 312* confirmed reported cases of measles in Rockland County.

*On Monday, August 26, 2019, 16 historical cases of measles were added to the current total. These cases occurred between early February 2019 and mid-May 2019.

Age groups for the confirmed measles cases in Rockland County as of August 26, 2019:

Less than 1 year old: 11.5%
1-3 years: 26.3%
4-6 years: 14.7%
7-18 years: 27.9%
19+ years: 19.6%
Vaccination rates for confirmed measles cases in Rockland County as of August 26, 2019:

79.5% have had 0 MMRs
5.8% have had 1 MMR
3.2% have had 2 MMRs
11.5% have unknown status

New Cases of Measles:

As of 10/07/2019 Rockland County has 1 documented case of internationally acquired Measles.  Additional cases of imported Measles have recently been identified in the New York counties of Monroe, Nassau, and Putnam. These new reports of disease are related to travelers who were exposed to various outbreaks occurring around the world. 

New York State Department of Health Measles Information Line (888) 364-4837

New York State Department of Health Frequently Asked Questions and Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Measles

New York State Department of Health: Evaluating Reliable Vaccine Resources
You can't trust everything you read, and it's important to apply that rule of thumb whenever you hear or read about immunizations or vaccine safety. The explosion of social media enables people to find out what strangers, celebrities and lay people have to say, and it's sometimes hard to distinguish fact from opinion. For information about how to evaluate resources visit: Evaluating Reliable Vaccine Resources

Measles Vaccination: Myths and Facts from the Infectious Diseases Society of America

What is Measles

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease (in the lungs and breathing tubes) caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people (when a person infected with the measles virus breathes, coughs, or sneezes). Measles is one of the most contagious viruses on earth; one measles infected person can give the virus to 18 others. In fact, 90% of unvaccinated people exposed to the virus become infected. You can catch measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, up to 2 hours after that person is gone. And you can catch measles from an infected person even before they have a measles rash.

Common symptoms

Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure. Measles typically begins with

  • high fever,
  • cough,
  • runny nose (coryza), and
  • red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis).


  • Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth.
  • Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body. When the rash appears, a person's fever may go up to more than 104° Fahrenheit.
  • After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.

People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash.
Click here to find out more. 

measles-can-be-serious.pngMeasles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. Others who are at high risk for complications if they get the measles include pregnant women who are not immune, as well as those who are immune-compromised or immunosuppressed (when your body can't fight disease).

Common Complications include ear infections and diarrhea.

  • Ear infections occur in about one out of every 10 children with measles and can result in permanent hearing loss.
  • Diarrhea is reported in less than one out of 10 people with measles.

Severe Complications

Some people may suffer from severe complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). They may need to be hospitalized and could die. Here are some facts about complications in children and pregnant women:

  • As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
  • About one child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability.
  • For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.
  • Measles may cause pregnant woman to give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.

Rare Long-term Complications

Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a very rare, but fatal disease of the central nervous system that results from a measles virus infection acquired earlier in life. SSPE generally develops 7 to 10 years after a person has measles, even though the person seems to have fully recovered from the illness.

For more information click here

The Measles Outbreak in Rockland County

2214_Measles_8.5x11_Flyer.jpgAt 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.

The RCDOH, Refuah Health Center, and private pediatricians and family doctors have administered over 29,000 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. 

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

High community vaccination rates help protect people who cannot get vaccinated because they are too young or have specific health conditions. 

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.

There may be medical reasons not to get the MMR vaccine, speak to your health care provider.

Information for Health Care Providers

  • The Health Department is asking all health care providers to immediately report all cases of suspect measles to the Rockland County Department of Health Communicable Disease Program staff by calling (845) 364-2997 during normal business hours, or (845) 364-8600 after hours/weekends. Health Care Providers can call this number for additional information.
  • If health care providers need assistance obtaining MMR vaccine during the measles outbreak, please call (845) 364-2997.
  • CDC Information for Health Care Providers 

Educational Video

  • Measles - What is it?  This is a video that discusses measles. What is it? How does it spread? How can we prevent it? published on February 21, 2015