Orange County Commissioner of Health Irina Gelman ordered area school districts to bar unimmunized students from attending school following a measles outbreak in the county.
As of May 3, there are 24 confirmed measles cases in the county, according to Deputy Commissioner of Health Chris Ericson. Ages range from seven months to 30 years, mostly in unvaccinated individuals.
A letter from Gelman to parents stated that in the event of a measles exposure in their children’s district, students who have not received their first dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine (and do not have evidence of serologic immunity) will need to remain home for 21 days after their last exposure in the school. Students with only one dose of MMR vaccine will need to receive a second dose before returning to school.
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. Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis and/or runny nose. Symptoms usually appear 10 to 12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and may take as long as 21 days.
In an effort to be proactive, Pine Bush Superintendent Tim Mains said the district is urging teachers, staff, parents and students to review their immunizations records, so they know if they are protected or not in the event of an outbreak.
“We have an alarming measles outbreak in our area, and we need to be vigilant and prepared for the possibility that it could visit us,” Mains said.
As of May 3, the district did not have confirmed cases of measles, Mains said.
Valley Central Assistant Superintendent Michael Bellarosa confirmed his district did not have any measles cases.
Gelman encouraged any parent or child who has been exposed to measles or are having any of these symptoms to keep their child home and contact their health care provider immediately by phone or the Orange County Department of Health at (845) 291-2330 before seeking care to avoid exposing others to illness.