Rockland County Ramps Up Measles Protection Efforts Amid National Outbreak and CDC Advisory

The County of Rockland advises residents to stay protected from measles as cases continue to surface across the United States, resulting in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to issue an advisory.

The CDC reports a total of 58 cases were reported in 17 states including New York and New Jersey this year so far, the total number of cases in 2023, 93% of which were linked to international travel. Most of the cases involved infants and toddlers 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. Ways you can catch measles include:

  • Being in the same room with a person with measles.
  • Up to 2 hours after an infected person leaves a room.
  • An infected person can be contagious before a measles rash surfaces.

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.

The Rockland County Department of Health’s Immunization Action Program (IAP) is in regular communication with the New York State Department of Health to ensure on vaccine compliance with the NYSDOH Immunization requirements for school entrance/attendance.

RCDOH’s IAP has also upped school audit efforts in the 2023-24 year. Of 32 public and private schools whose student immunization records were audited, 9 were fully compliant, 19 sites became compliant within two-weeks of the audit, and 3 sites are in process and pending follow-up. One site was referred to the New York State Department of Health for further action following continued noncompliance after follow-up.

Of 18 daycares audited, 7 were fully compliant, 10 became compliant within two-weeks of the audit, and one site currently pending follow-up.

The RCDOH additionally acquired a mobile vaccination unit through grant funds in addition to an inflatable 2-lane trailer that will both be utilized for vaccinations. RCDOH also added 2 additional clinic days to our regular schedule at our Pomona Health Complex and added a vaccination site at the Spring Valley Clinic. This has resulted in a 50% increase in clinic visits in 2023 compared to 2021, and a 30% increase compared to 2022. 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.

Visit the Rockland County Department of Health measles webpage for more information about the disease. For an appointment or more information regarding RCDOH immunization clinics call 845-364-2520.

“To successfully prevent measles from resurfacing in this county we need cooperation from all communities,” concluded County Executive Day. “I implore our residents to ensure they are immune to measles or get vaccinated immediately if needed.”

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