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Health Team

Measles cases spread within Orange family

Posted May 8, 2013
Updated May 9, 2013

The measles vaccine is an important, if not fool-proof, preventative.
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— 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. 

Measles outbreak spreads in Orange County Measles outbreak spreads in Orange County

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."

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  • delilahk2000 May 9, 2013

    THIS IS WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU CHOOSE NOT TO VAC. YOUR CHILD....YOU PUT EVERYBODY AT RISK DUE TO YOUR LACK OF RESPOSIBLITY......

  • FromClayton May 9, 2013

    "one person among the four new cases had been fully vaccinated"

    I'm already scared of vaccines. Now it looks like in at least this case it didn't even work. Seems like a lot of risk if it doesn't even work!

    I hope they closely study why the vaccine did not stop the virus in this case. I think this is the real big story here!