Poughkeepsie … While there have been no measles outbreaks in Dutchess County, given recent outbreaks in neighboring counties, the Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) urges residents to know their measles vaccine status.
“Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through the air by coughing or sneezing,” said DBCH Commissioner A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH. “Your best protection against the disease is to make sure you are fully immunized against measles. It is especially important to make sure your immunizations are up to date, whether you travel or plan to stay in the area.”
The recent increase in measles cases in New York State has been linked to individuals traveling to countries which have more incidence of measles as well as measles exposure to individuals who are not fully vaccinated or unvaccinated. Symptoms of measles typically appear 7-14 days after a person is infected, and include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. A rash may break out 3-5 days after symptoms begin. If residents experience symptoms, they’re urged to call their healthcare provider to make special arrangements for evaluation, as it is important not to put others at risk.
Dr. Vaidian recommended residents speak with their healthcare provider to determine if they are protected against measles. If written documentation of measles immunity is unavailable, residents can be vaccinated with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. If residents are unsure of their vaccine status, their provider may recommend they receive a dose of MMR, as there is no harm in receiving an additional dose if you were previously vaccinated.
Children traveling abroad may need to be vaccinated earlier than is routinely recommended. Infants 6–11 months old should receive one dose of MMR vaccine before departure, followed by the regular routine recommended MMR vaccine schedule. Children 12 months old and older should have two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days before traveling overseas.
Dutchess County Immunization Program is available to provide assistance and to provide vaccine for those who are uninsured, underinsured, or students at post-high school education institutions. Residents can contact the department at 845-486-3402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about measles is available at www.cdc.gov/measles.