Measles symptoms to look out for as New York county faces outbreak

Someone with a measles rash (Picture: Ricardo Funari/Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A New York county has reported that they are currently in a state of a measles emergency, after 153 cases have been confirmed.

Rockland County, located north of New York City, has banned unvaccinated children from public spaces as a result, with fines in place for those who violate the ban.

Vaccination rates in the area are at around 50% to 60%, which authorities say is ‘not nearly enough’.

The World Health Organization has declared that the anti-vaccine movement is one of the top global health threats for 2019, and measles outbreaks (which have risen steeply) are at the heart of this.

Getting children vaccinated is absolutely the first stage to eradicating the disease, but it’s also important to know what to look out for – particularly in cases where your child can’t be immunised.

Measles symptoms

According to the NHS, measles symptoms begin around 10 days after the initial infection, and tend to be similar to those of a cold or mild flu. A full list of symptoms include:

  • a runny or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • watery eyes
  • swollen eyelids
  • sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
  • a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
  • small greyish-white spots in the mouth
  • aches and pains
  • a cough
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy

Around two to four days after this, people may get white spots in their mouth, and a measles rash. This rash can take on various characteristics:

  • it may be made up of small red-brown, flat or slightly raised spots that may join together into larger blotchy patches
  • usually first appears on the head or neck before spreading outwards to the rest of the body
  • can be slightly itchy for some people
  • can look similar to other childhood conditions, such as slapped cheek syndrome, roseola or rubella
  • is unlikely to be caused by measles if the person has been fully vaccinated (had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine) or had measles before

What to do if you suspect measles

Regardless of whether you’re completely sure or not, contact your GP as soon as you suspect you or your child might have measles.

Make sure to call ahead, as the disease is extremely infectious and special arrangements may need to be made before your visit – particularly to protect those with weakened immune systems.

You should avoid public areas such as schools or anywhere that vulnerable people may be.

Additionally, if you’ve yet to be vaccinated (even if you’re not showing symptoms) speak to your GP. They may be able to help.

MORE: Grandma who can smell Parkinson’s disease helps with revolutionary research

MORE: Melted Easter bunnies create ‘horror show’ display at Aldi


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.