Rockland County health officials warn measles outbreak is not over

ROCKLAND COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- Health officials have now confirmed 151 cases of measles within Rockland County since October, and they are warning residents that the outbreak is not over.

The outbreak has affected residents of Spring Valley, New Square and Monsey, and authorities have identified the following locations as possible sites for exposure:
--Target in Spring Valley Marketplace, 50 Spring Valley Market Place, Spring Valley, NY 10977, between Sunday 3/10/19 at 8 a.m. and Monday 3/11/19 at 1 a.m., and between Monday 3/11/19 at 8 a.m. and Tuesday 3/12/19 at 2 a.m.
--All Fresh Supermarket, 19 Route 59, Monsey, NY 10952 on Tuesday, 3/12/19 between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
--Atrium Plaza, 401 Route 59, Monsey, NY 10952, on Tuesday, 3/12/19 between 2:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
--Designer's Spot, 401 Route 59, Monsey, NY 10952, on Tuesday, 3/12/19 between 2:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
--TOR Bus - Loop 2 Eastbound that traveled on Tuesday, 3/12/19 between 3:55 p.m. and 6:06 p.m. from the Atrium Plaza in Monsey, NY
--International Taxi that drove from near 5 Twin Avenue in Spring Valley, NY to near the intersection of Sunrise Drive and Monsey Blvd. in Monsey, NY on Wednesday, 3/13/2019 between 3:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Officials say these times reflect the period that the infected individuals were in these areas and a two-hour period after they left the areas, because the virus remains alive in air and on surfaces for up to two hours.

Anyone present at these locations during these times are urged to contact your health care provider by phone (call before going for care):

High-risk groups include:
--Pregnant women
--Children under 6 months of age
--Immunocompromised or immunosuppressed (when your body can't fight disease)
--Those who have not been vaccinated against the measles
--Those who were born before 1957 and are immunosuppressed

RELATED: What to know about measles symptoms, vaccine and treatment

Health officials say the best way to help protect yourself and the community is to remain up-to-date with measles vaccinations, and that high community vaccination rates help protect people who cannot get vaccinated because they are too young or have specific health conditions.

"We continue to encourage everyone to be up-to-date with the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine to help protect them in case of any future exposure to measles in Rockland," Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said. "Measles is highly contagious, so anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting the disease, and they may spread measles to people who cannot get vaccinated because they are too young or have specific health conditions."

Free MMR vaccines are available by calling:
--The Rockland County Department of Health at 845-364-2497 or 845-364-2520 to schedule an appointment to get a free MMR vaccine at the Pomona health complex.
--The Rockland County Department of Health Spring Valley Family Planning Clinic is also providing MMR vaccines, by appointment to Family Planning patients. Family Planning Clinic patients can call 845-364-2531 to schedule an appointment.

In addition, MMR vaccines are available at local health care providers or by calling a local federally qualified health center.

RELATED: Rockland County Department of Health measles outbreak Information

The health department is actively working to contain the further spread of measles. As a result, if you are ill with a fever, rash, or conjunctivitis (red watery eyes) - help protect our community by staying home, not having visitors, and not going out in public.

To further prevent the spread of illness, health officials are advising individuals who have symptoms consistent with measles to contact their health care provider, a local clinic, or a local emergency department before going for care. This will help to prevent others at these facilities from being exposed to the illness.

There were 17 outbreaks and about 350 cases of measles in the U.S. last year.

Children receive the first vaccine between 12 and 15 months old and the second vaccine between ages 4 and 6.

Experts say one vaccine provides 93 percent immunity from measles, and two shots provide 97 percent protection. The vaccine is less effective in those under a year old and is generally not given to infants.

The virus, spread by coughing or sneezing, can remain in the air for up to two hours in an isolated space.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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