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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2018
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512

HEALTH DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES INCREASED SCHOOL EXCLUSIONS DUE TO MEASLES OUTBREAK

Change from 30% unvaccinated to 20% unvaccinated

NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announce to residents that the Health Department is increasing school exclusions from the current 70% to 80% vaccination rate. This will affect a greater number of schools, meaning more students will have to remain home and be unable to attend school.

ALL schools within the Village of New Square and any school with less than an 80% MMR vaccination rate within the geographical area affected by the measles outbreak (Spring Valley, Monsey) will be required to keep un- or under-vaccinated students home until 21 days have passed since the last confirmed measles case in Rockland. This is a more restricted rate than the initial school exclusion that required schools with less than a 70% MMR vaccination rate to keep un- or under-vaccinated students home until 21 days passed since the last confirmed measles case in Rockland.

Questions about if this order affects your child's school can be directed to the New York State Department of Health toll free  Measles Information Line at (888) 364-4837.

"We continue to encourage everyone to be up-to-date with the MMR vaccine to help protect them in case of any future exposure to measles in Rockland. Measles is highly contagious, so anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting the disease, and they may spread measles to people who cannot get vaccinated because they are too young or have specific health conditions," said Dr. Ruppert

Individuals are considered protected or immune to measles if they have had physician or provider-confirmed measles or have a lab test confirming immunity. Those born before 1957, and those who have received two doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, are also considered immune, however there is a very small chance that in this outbreak they may still get measles, but a much less severe case and much less likely to spread to others.

If you are unsure if you are immune to measles, contact your healthcare provider. Routinely, everyone four years and older needs two doses of MMR vaccine unless there are contraindications (medical reasons not to get the vaccine). Two doses of the MMR vaccine can offer 97% protection from the measles. Typically, the first dose of MMR vaccine should be given at 12-15 months of age and the second dose should be given at four to six years of age (age of school entry), although individuals may also be vaccinated later in life.

However, because there is a measles outbreak in Rockland County, the Rockland County Department of Health is currently recommending that children 6 months through 11 months of age get an MMR vaccine now. They will still have to get a vaccine at 12-15 months of age and again at 4-6 years of age, however getting an MMR vaccine now will help give them some protection against measles. Therefore, any child 6 months or older or any adult who has not received their first MMR vaccine yet should get their first MMR vaccine now.

Also, 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. In New York State, measles immunization is required of children enrolled in schools, daycare, and pre-kindergarten. Since August 1990, college students have also been required to demonstrate immunity against measles.

There are currently no MMR clinics scheduled from the Rockland County Department of Health. To receive a dose of the MMR vaccine, visit your local health care provider.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children, as it can lead to pneumonia, brain damage, deafness, and death. 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 immunocompromised or immunosuppressed (when your body can't fight disease). About one out of four people who get measles will be hospitalized.

Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis (red watery eyes) or runny nose. People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure.

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 can get more information about measles by visiting www.health.ny.gov/publications/2170.pdf and by calling the New York State Department of Health toll free Measles Information Line at (888) 364-4837. The Rockland County Department of Health is closely coordinating our response with the New York State Department of Health to ensure the health and safety of all residents.

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.