It is Essential to Take Steps to Avoid Measles

The Onondaga County Health Department is reminding Onondaga County residents about the importance of being up-to-date on all vaccinations including measles. Since December 2014, there has been an ongoing multistate outbreak of measles in the United States. Dr. Indu Gupta, Commissioner of Health, explained “Onondaga County has not had a confirmed measles case since 2000. However it is very important to protect yourself, your children, and take precautions against measles.” The Health Department urges everyone to protect themselves and those around them by getting an MMR vaccine.

Facts about Measles
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. The measles virus can live for up to two hours on a surface or in an airspace where the infected person has coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, they can become infected. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. The patient is contagious for four days before and four days after the rash appears.

The following symptoms of measles usually appear 7-21 days after exposure to a sick patient:
• Fever of more than 101 degrees
• Cough and running nose (coryza)
• Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
• Rash generally spreading from the face at the hairline to the neck, trunk, and to the legs

Complications: Complications of the disease can range from ear infection, to pneumonia, encephalitis, and rarely, death.
We are urging everyone: Please take steps to prevent the spread of measles by:
1. Protecting yourself: by adequate vaccination of 2 doses of MMR vaccination.
2. Preventing the spread of disease: by staying home when sick until at least four days after the skin rash occurs; avoiding public places or use of public transportation; and avoiding contact with those who may have a weakened immune system and/or who have not been vaccinated, including infants less than 12 months of age.
3. Contacting your provider: If you have been exposed to someone with measles and have a fever and rash, please contact your medical provider first for further advice instead of going directly to urgent care or your doctor’s office due to the highly contagious nature of this disease.

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