North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services public health officials and staff from local health departments are investigating potential exposures to measles in Forsyth County as part of an outbreak that was first reported in mid-April. 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.
In response to the measles outbreak Forsyth County Department of Public Health will provide free Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccines to residents 12 months of age and older, including adults. Free vaccine is available at:
As of April 18, 2013, and until further notice, the NC Immunization Program (NCIP) has expanded the administration criteria for MMR which makes anyone fitting into one of the following categories eligible to receive MMR at the Forsyth County Department of Public Health:
Measles is a highly contagious illness and unvaccinated populations are at highest risk of becoming sick when exposed to the measles virus. It can be spread through coughing, sneezing and contact with secretions from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person. Initial symptoms of this illness may include a fever over 101 F degrees, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough. After a few days, a rash will begin to appear on the face and spread over the entire body. Persons with measles are considered infectious four days before and four days after the rash appears. If you suspect you may be sick with measles, please call your healthcare provider before leaving home to avoid spreading the illness to people in doctors’ office or clinic waiting areas or in emergency departments.
Persons exposed to the measles virus who have not been vaccinated or have not had measles earlier in life are required to stay home for a period of time specified by public health officials because they can begin to pass the infection to others before they show signs of illness.
Public health officials recommend immunization within 72 hours of exposure for those individuals who have not already been vaccinated to protect against developing the disease.
More information about measles is available at: epi.publichealth.nc.gov