The number of confirmed cases of measles in multiple Hudson Valley counties continues to rise.

On Wednesday, the Orange County Department of Health announced there are now 15 confirmed cases, up from 12 during their last report, adding there has been a substantial increase in the number of cases in New York City and other surrounding areas.

“Measles is highly contagious and we are reminding residents that getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent from acquiring the virus,” Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman said. “As families and friends make plans to gather for the upcoming holidays, making sure that everyone has been vaccinated is recommended.”

Health officials in Rockland County announced Wednesday the number of confirmed cases there has risen to 161, up ten from a report two weeks ago. Last week, anyone under the age of 18 and unvaccinated against the measles was banned from public places in Rockland County

Since October, there have been at least 211 confirmed cases of measles in New York State. Some 145 cases come from Orange and Rockland counties with 64 cases found in Brooklyn.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. People first develop a fever, then often a cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by an appearance of a rash. People are considered infectious four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash.

Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis or a runny nose. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as seven days and as late as 21 days after exposure.

In October, it was reported an international traveler with measles visited multiple locations in Rockland and Westchester counties. Among the locations infected with measles was the Costco in Nanuet and Westchester Medical Center.

Around Thanksgiving, shoppers at the Palisades Mall were potentially exposed to measles. 

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