Mineola NY – The Nassau County Department of Health (NCDOH) has been notified of a laboratory confirmed case of measles in an adult who recently arrived on an international flight through JFK International Airport from outside the United States. The individual is not associated with any current measles cases in New York State, but instead was exposed in another country with an ongoing outbreak. NCDOH, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health is investigating the case and will take appropriate action based on the findings.
Potential exposures are under investigation. NCDOH has determined that there is minimal risk of exposure to Nassau County residents and is taking the necessary proactive steps to prevent the spread of measles.
Individuals are considered protected or immune to measles if they were born before 1957, have received two doses of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, have had measles disease, or have a lab test confirming immunity. Individuals who are not immune to measles and were exposed are at risk for developing measles. Preventive treatment for measles is recommended for those without evidence of immunity as follows: MMR vaccine can be given to eligible exposed individuals within 72 hours of exposure OR immune globulin can be administered within 6 days of exposure.
To prevent the spread of illness, NCDOH is advising individuals who may have been exposed and 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.
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. People first develop a fever, then may have a cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by appearance of a rash. People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure.
The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated. Individuals should receive two doses of MMR vaccine to be fully protected. If a person is unsure if they are immune they should contact their healthcare provider. Typically, 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 school entry), although individuals may also be vaccinated later in life. In New York State, measles immunization is required of children enrolled in schools, daycare, and pre-kindergarten. Since August 1990, college students have also been required to demonstrate immunity against measles.
For families traveling overseas, a baby between the ages of 6 through 11 months old should receive one dose of MMR vaccine before leaving. If a child is 12 months of age or older, he or she will need two doses of MMR vaccine – separated by at least 28 days – before departure.
For additional information about measles, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2170/