The state Department of Health is recommending all New Yorkers get vaccinated against the measles, after a case was confirmed in an Ulster County child.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav R. Shah said in a statement this afternoon that there is a misconception around that measles is a childhood disease of the past.
"It remains a highly contagious viral disease that can cause serious health problems and even death,” Shah said. “The good news is that measles is preventable, and people who are vaccinated can protect themselves against the disease.”
The case in Ulster County was found in a unidentified school where nearly half the students were not vaccinated against the illness. The vaccination is required for children in the state, but exemptions do exist.
The Ulster County Health Department is now working with the school district in question to protect students there from measles, with unvaccinated children and staff being excluded from school for 21 days so they can avoid contracting or spreading the disease.
A person is considered immune if they were born before 1957, has been previously diagnosed with measles, had a blood test confirming immunity or have received two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.
People who are at risk are in danger of getting a highly contagious respiratory disease that is spread by direct contact with the nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Symptoms usually present after 10 to 12 days, with runny nose, cough and a slight fever. Symptoms will eventually include a rash.
The disease has not recently spread in this country because of widespread vaccination.