Health/Fitness

More cases of measles reported in Orange County

Friday, April 26, 2013

A measles outbreak is spreading in Orange County.

Health officials say four more cases have been diagnosed, which brings the total to five.

Of the new cases, one is an adult and the other three are children, between the ages of 9 and 11.

Three of the children are students at Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill.

The other goes to Grady Brown Elementary School in Hillsborough.

Health officials do not believe that the children were not exposed to measles at school, but rather at a festival in Stokes County. All new cases were already in quarantine and will remain isolated at home.

"Measles is incredibly contagious so if you are not vaccinated against measles and you are exposed to somebody with measles, you have a 90 percent chance of coming down with measles," said Orange County Health Director Dr. Colleen Bridger. "We're just trying to wrap our arms around the cases so that they don't spread throughout the rest of the community."

The best protection against measles is the two part MMR vaccination. Most children receive their first dose of the vaccine beginning at 12 months of age.

The Orange County Health Department is offering the MMR vaccine to any residents who have not received the vaccine in the past. To schedule an appointment, residents can call the Health Department at (919) 245-2400 or call their family physician.

Measles is an uncommon, but highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus.

Officials believe the local cases could have stemmed from a person who had just returned from India.

As of Thursday, there were 14 measles cases statewide.

Visit the CDC's webpage for more information about the measles: www.cdc.gov/measles

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