MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

North Carolina health officials investigate measles outbreak

North Carolina Department of Heath public officials are investigating 19 cases of measles which likely began at Prabhupada Village; officials warned the public to stay away from Stokes County and recommended vaccinations.

Since mid-April, an estimated 1,000 people have been exposed to the measles virus from those infected in Stokes, Orange and Polk County. Officials are investigating the source of the outbreaks and have found most of the infected to have been in Prabhupada Village; two of the infected were found to have been at the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival in Chatham County in late April while infected.

Health officials are working closely with the Prabhupada Village to prevent new outbreaks. Officials have warned the public, particularly those that have not been vaccinated, to stay away from Stokes County until the virus has been controlled.

"Most of the persons who became infected with measles were individuals both inside and outside this community were not vaccinated," Scott Lenhart, Stokes County health director, said. "This is an important reminder that anyone who has not been protected by immunization is highly susceptible to measles."

Measles is highly infectious and transferable from person-to-person through bodily fluids, usually during sneezing, coughing or blowing of the nose. It produces fever-like symptoms for those infected and results in a rash.

Measles can be prevented with a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination. North Carolina health officials recommend those at risk of exposure get vaccinated within 72 hours.