Measles cases spread within Orange family
Posted May 8, 2013
Updated May 9, 2013
Orange County, N.C. — Although the Orange County Health Department reported four new cases of measles Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 23, there is no additional reason for worry.
"They were people who had already been identified, so it was no surprises," said Judy Butler, community health services supervisor in Orange County. The new cases are family members who had contact with those who already had the illness, Butler said.
Since the outbreak began, state and local public health authorities have notified more than 1,000 people in Stokes, Forsyth, Guilford, Orange, Polk and Chatham counties who may have been exposed to the disease.
Most of the cases are associated with people who live in or have visited the Prabhupada Village in Stokes County. Investigators have also determined that two people infected with measles attended the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival in April before they knew they might be ill. People with measles can infect others up to four days before they have the most common symptom, a rash.
The Orange County Health Department is offering free measles vaccines to those who think they may have been exposed.
Measles is easily spread among those in close proximity, Butler said. "I am coughing, I am sneezing, I am talking. It is in the air," she said.
Most of those identified in the measles outbreak had not been vaccinated.
Most people who contract measles get over it, but it can be dangerous to pregnant women or the very young.
"If a pregnant woman gets measles, it is really bad. It is a risk to the fetus, miscarriage, fetal death," Butler said.
Children under a year old cannot get the vaccine that protects against measles, so they are more likely to catch it if exposed.
In the Orange County family, one person among the four new cases had been fully vaccinated and another had a partial vaccine.
Butler said the number of cases could still grow. "I can't say that it will, but it would not be a big surprise."