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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rockland County - Officials Warn Shoppers of Possible Measles Exposure at Palisades Center Mall

POMONA, New York - Health officials are warning shoppers who may have visited the Palisades Center Mall last weekend that a case of measles has been confirmed.

Shoppers who visited the mall on Sunday, Feb. 2 between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. may be at risk of contracting the highly contagious disease.

According to the Rockland County Health Department:

The Rockland County Department of Health has identified a case of measles in Rockland County.  

Residents may have been exposed to an individual with measles if they were at the Palisades Center Mall on the afternoon of Sunday, February 2nd between 11:00 AM. and 1:00 PM. Specific locations where residents may have been exposed are primarily on the first floor of the mall and specifically at these stores: Best Buy and the AT&T store.

Individuals who may have been at these locations between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM and are part of the high – risk group below may have been potentially exposed to measles.

If you were present in these stores at that time and are in any of the following high – risk groups, contact your doctor by phone right away:

* pregnant
* a child under 6 months of age
* immunocompromised or immunosuppressed ( when your body can’t fight disease)
* Or if you have not been vaccinated against the measles

Pregnant women or individuals who are not immunized against measles should look for symptoms, call their doctor, and avoid contact with others.
Individuals are not at risk of contracting measles if they are immune.   A person is considered immune if he or she has received two doses of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine OR if born before January 1, 1957 OR has a history of laboratory-confirmed measles, OR has a blood test confirming measles immunity.

In the interest of preventing the spread of this highly communicable disease, the Rockland County Department of Health also asks individuals who may have been exposed and who have symptoms consistent with measles (fever & rash) to call their physician, health care provider or emergency room BEFORE going for care so that others are not exposed in a waiting room.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can lead to serious side effects and, in rare cases, death. Measles symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days, but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.

In the first stage, which lasts two to four days, the individual may have a runny nose, cough and a slight fever. Eyes may become reddened and sensitive to light while the fever gradually rises each day, often peaking as high as 103° to 105° F. Small bluish white spots surrounded by a reddish area may also appear on the gums and inside of the cheeks.

The second stage begins on the third to seventh day and consists of a red blotchy rash lasting five to six days. The rash usually begins on the face and then spreads downward and outward, reaching the hands and feet. The rash fades in the same order that it appeared, from head to extremities. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age.

The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated.  Most New Yorkers have been vaccinated, but if unsure, they should check with their physician. Individuals should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine to be protected. The first dose should be given at 12-15 months of age and the second dose is routinely given at 4 to 6 years of age, but may be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose. Anyone at any age who is not immune to measles, and has no condition that would prohibit receiving the vaccine, should receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine at least 28 days apart.

The Health Department is asking all health providers to immediately report all cases of suspect measles   to the Rockland County Health Department Bureau of Communicable Disease Control by calling (845) 364-2997 during normal business hours, or 845 – 364 – 8600 after hours/weekend. Health Care Providers can call this number for additional information. Your provider may do additional testing to confirm the diagnosis.

It is also important to note that travelers should be up-to-date on their vaccinations; since January 2014 there have been 6 cases of measles reported in the United States from travelers to foreign countries.

More information about measles can be found at: 

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