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Sullivan County Provides Measles Update

Liberty, NY – As the summer winds down, Sullivan County Public Health Services would like to remind the public that measles continues to be a concern.

Sullivan County has had 15 confirmed cases this summer, and four additional epidemiology-linked cases, bringing the total to 19 cases so far in Sullivan County this year. None of these cases are currently contagious. However, health care providers and public health officials in Sullivan County continue to be vigilant at screening and monitoring for cases of measles in individuals. Symptoms include a rash, high fever, cough and conjunctivitis (watery eyes).

The measles outbreak is not yet considered to be over in New York State. As of August 28, 2019, there were 414 confirmed cases of measles in New York State outside of New York City (312 in Rockland County, 57 in Orange County, 18 in Westchester County, 19 in Sullivan County, 6 in Wyoming County, 1 in Suffolk County and 1 in Greene County.)

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can result in severe pneumonia (a serious lung infection), deafness, diarrhea, dehydration, brain swelling, and a very high fever. It is especially dangerous for very young children and individuals with compromised immune systems. The MMR vaccine provides protection against measles, mumps and rubella, is highly effective, and safe. 

Getting the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best way to prevent measles.

•           You are considered immune to measles if you have written proof of 2 valid doses of MMR vaccine, or other live, measles-containing vaccine.

•           You are also considered immune to measles if you have a written lab report of immunity, or you were born before 1957.

•           Anyone who lacks proof of measles immunity, as defined above, should receive at least one dose of MMR vaccine.

•           Two doses of MMR vaccine are recommended for some groups of adults. This includes healthcare personnel, college students, and international travelers. The doses should be given at least 28 days apart.

What are the MMR vaccine requirements for school attendance?

•           For pre-kindergarten including day care, Head Start or nursery school: one dose of MMR vaccine

•           Kindergarten to grade 12: two doses of MMR vaccine

•           College: two doses of MMR vaccine

Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.

“The MMR clinics that have been held weekly from May through August at Sullivan County Public Health Services in response to the measles outbreak have concluded this week,” said Public Health Director Nancy McGraw. “Several hundred adults and children were protected with MMR vaccine this summer with these weekly clinics, and collectively, healthcare providers in Sullivan County have provided over 2,000 additional MMR vaccinations to ensure broader population health protection for those without proof of immunity.” 

“The importance of full vaccination for measles, a preventable disease, cannot be stressed enough as the school year begins," she added.

Immunization clinics for uninsured children continue to be held monthly for County residents without an appointment, on the second Wednesday of each month from 5-7 p.m. at Sullivan County Public Health Services, 50 Community Lane, in Liberty. 

Those with insurance should make an appointment with their regular healthcare provider soon in order to avoid school exclusion, as non-medical exemptions are no longer allowed in New York State.

For more information, call Public Health Services at 845-292-5910 x 0. For more information about measles, visit the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/measles or the New York State Health Department at www.health.ny.gov/publications/2170/.