At the end of September 2018, an international traveler in Rockland County arrived with a suspected case of measles.
There have been additional cases of measles from international travelers to Rockland, which exposes more people to measles. People who are unvaccinated risk become infected with measles and spread it to others.
These cases are currently clusters in East Ramapo (New Square, Spring Valley, Monsey), but due to the small size of Rockland County, exposure to measles can occur anywhere in the county.
As of November 9, 2018 there are 55 confirmed reported cases in Rockland County.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, informs residents that the health department increases school exclusion from the current vaccination rate of 70% to 80%. This will affect a larger number of schools, which means that more students must stay at home and not be able to attend school.
All schools in New Square and any school with less than an 80% MMR vaccination rate within the geographic area affected by the measles outbreak (Spring Valley, Monsey) will be required to keep unmarried or under-vaccinated students home to 21 days since then latest confirmed massacre case in Rockland. This is a more limited rate than the original school exclusion requiring schools with less than a 70% MMR vaccination rate to keep un- or under-vaccinated students home for 21 days passed since the last confirmed measles case in Rockland.
"We continue to encourage everyone to be updated with the MMR vaccine to protect them from possible future exposure to measles in Rockland. Fairs are highly infectious, so anyone who is not protected from measles is at risk of getting the disease, and they can spread measles to people who can not be vaccinated because they are too young or have specific health conditions, "says Dr. Ruppert.
Individuals are considered to be protected or immunized against measles if they have had a doctor or supplier-certified measles or have a laboratory test confirming immunity. Those born before 1957, and those who received two doses of measles, rubella (MMR) vaccines are also considered to be immune, but there is a very small chance that in this outbreak they still get measles but a much less serious case and much less likely to spread to others.
If you are unsure if you are immune to measles, contact your healthcare provider. Routinely, every four years and older, two doses of MMR vaccine need not be contraindicated (medical reasons not to receive the vaccine). Two doses of the MMR vaccine can offer 97% protection against measles. Usually, 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 schooling), although individuals may also be vaccinated later in life.
However, as there is a measles outbreak in Rockland County, Rockland County Department of Health currently recommends that children from 6 months to 11 months receive an MMR vaccine now. They still need to get a vaccine at the age of 12-15 months and again at the age of 4-6, but getting a MMR vaccine now helps to give them some protection against measles. Therefore, all children 6 months or older or an adult who has not received their first MMR vaccine should still be given their first MMR vaccine now.
Children 1 to 3 years of age who have already received their first MMR vaccine should also receive a second MMR vaccine now, as long as 28 days have elapsed since the first MMR vaccine was given to them. The second MMR vaccine is counted for schooling. In New York, measles immunization of children enrolled in schools, day care centers and preschools is required. Since August 1990, college students have also been required to show immunity to measles.