Health Team

Measles outbreak reported in Orange, Stokes counties

Posted April 18, 2013

— The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it is investigating an outbreak of measles in Orange and Stokes counties.

Seven cases have been reported. Orange County health officials said their only confirmed case was a student who attends private school. 

The school and other potential contacts have been notified and given control measures to prevent further spread of the virus.

“Measles is very uncommon in North Carolina, so many people aren’t aware of the symptoms,” State health director Dr. Laura Gerald said in a statement. “Measles spreads quickly, particularly in children and adults who aren’t vaccinated. We want to make the public aware of this outbreak so individuals can take steps to protect themselves and their families.”

Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. It also can be transmitted through contact with secretions from the nose or mouth of an infected person.

Initial symptoms may include fever, runny nose, watery red eyes and cough. After a few days, a rash appears on the head and spreads over the entire body.

Dr Mask Dr. Mask: Seven measles cases reported in NC

Measles complications are dangerous. Six to 20 percent of the people who get the disease will get an ear infection, diarrhea or pneumonia, especially young children. One out of 1,000 people with measles will develop inflammation of the brain (meningitis), and about one out of 1,000 will die.

The disease also poses serious risks for pregnant women, including miscarriage and premature birth.

Although the early symptoms of measles can be similar to those of many other infections, Gerald recommends that anyone with fever, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough should stay at home and limit contact with others to avoid spreading illness.

If a rash develops or if symptoms worsen, call a doctor or seek medical care. Those who seek medical care should call their doctor’s office or health care facility before going so they can prepare for the visit and protect other patients from exposure.

Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. It is important for all individuals 12 months of age and older to be vaccinated.

“Vaccine is readily available,” Gerald said. “Anyone interested in getting vaccinated should contact their primary health care provider or their local health department.”


This story is closed for comments.

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  • markjb33 Apr 18, 2013

    It used to be, you had to vaccinated to go to school, what happened?

  • freedomrings Apr 18, 2013

    Search youtube, you'll find plenty of videos of children before and after vaccinations.

  • freedomrings Apr 18, 2013

    JustOneGodLessThanU :

    Two things at play - the genetic polymorphism I mentioned, combined with the vaccination.

    I'm not anti-vaccination at all. But, I believe in smart vaccinations.

  • iron fist Apr 18, 2013

    There are fewer illegals in Stokes county then Wake or Durham county why haven't there been any reports of outbreaks here if the illegals are responsible.

  • pedsrndad Apr 18, 2013

    As a society, we are very poor at evaluating risks. If there was a vaccine against a disease that would cause a 1/100,000 rate of serious problems, and the odds of getting that disease were very high, and the mortality rate was 25% for those having the disease, many people would not take the vaccine. There is no demonstrated proof there is any real link with vaccines and autism. You might as well say "75% of people in traffic accidents had eaten carrots the week before so the carrots caused the accident". I am sympathetic to a parent whose child developed symptoms of autism at some point after receiving a vaccine but a "might happen" problem with a vaccine and a "will likely happen without it" problem is a no brainer. How many children will die without vaccines due to parents misguided ideas of risk?

  • welfarequeen Apr 18, 2013

    I don't think it is "ignorance" or "xenophobia" to assert that illegal immigrants that are not vaccinated bring disease with them.ncsislamesauce

    It's surprising how many of the small mean minds against immigration have their own little Center For Disease Control bulletin to put out anytime anything happens in the state and according to them it is always the immigrants fault. Instead of speculating about people you don't like, how about saying something constructive. Obesity in NC costs the tax payer MUCH more than a measles outbreak. Why not run your mouths about that.

  • happymom Apr 18, 2013


    I did look at the insert. I think you left a very, very important part of that insert out. Here it is:

    "vents were included in this list because of the seriousness or frequency of reporting. Because these events are
    ported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequencies or to
    establish a causal relationship to components of Tripedia vaccine."

    In other words, if someone was diagnosed with autism after having the vaccine, it is reported. But that's like saying that because I took an aspirin two years ago and got diagnosed with breast cancer today, the two are related.

    In other words, it doesn't mean anything.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 18, 2013

    @freedomrings, you may want to actually read the FDA link that you posted. 1- Non-medical people reported this 2- There's no way to establish a causal link 3- would you rather blame your child's condition on a drug reaction or your bad parental genes?

    "Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequencies or to establish a causal relationship to components of Tripedia vaccine." -- FDA

  • kikinc Apr 18, 2013

    freedomrings: I actually agree with the abbreviated schedule of vaccines, breaking them up so that they're not all given within a small time frame, yet that they are all administered before school. Reactions to any vaccine are a possibility, unfortunately. The pertussis vaccine has been show to not be a strong as it was originally thought to be, and that it does wear off, which is why they now suggest boosters for adults. I don't think it could hurt.

    And for your other comment about autism being listed as an adverse event, this is misleading. Because of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System put in place in 1990, any adverse event is reported, even without any proof that there is any correlation between the event and the vaccine. This is misleading information.

  • raleighlynn Apr 18, 2013

    One of my daughters cannot give her children live virus vaccines due to medical considerations, another daughter has philosophical issues with vaccines. Both reasons are valid in my opinion. I don't have a solution to the problem, but neither daughter has any intention of contributing to the problem. It is what it is.