CHAPEL HILL — Orange County health officials advise people who may have attended recent HYAA baseball games to be alert to symptoms of the measles.
People who attended the Hillsborough Youth Athletic Association baseball games at 6 p.m. May 3 at the Cedar Grove Park (Field #2) and the 4:30 p.m. May 4 game at the Exchange Club Park in Hillsborough should be alert for measles symptoms anytime through May 25, Shelp said.
The rare but highly infectious virus starts like a cold, with fever, runny nose, coughing and watery, red eyes, but a rash appears on the face or neck within three or four days. Those who develop symptoms should call their doctor or the health department to arrange care. They should not show up at the doctor’s office and risk infecting others, health officials said. Measles can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, infants and persons with other health concerns.
Nine Orange County residents have contracted the virus so far, said Health Department spokeswoman Stacy Shelp. All the cases originate with a Hare Krishna community in rural Stokes County. The initial patient may have been someone who contracted the virus in India.
Since mid-April, state health officials have reported 23 cases and notified more than 1,000 people in Stokes, Forsyth, Guilford, Orange, Polk and Chatham counties.
Most people are vaccinated for measles as children, making it very rare in the United States. Shelp said the person who was at the baseball games was one of those rare cases, despite having been vaccinated.
The patient had been in close proximity with other infected people for a long period of time, but because he was vaccinated, he didn’t think he was contagious, she said. The patient’s symptoms have been mild, she said.
According to health officials, those born before 1957 may have developed an immunity from having the disease as a child. But they and others are still advised to get two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Children must get the vaccinations before attending childcare, school or university classes.
The Orange County Health Department offers the two-part MMR vaccination to anyone older than 12 months. The shots are given at least three months apart. If you or someone else needs to be vaccinated, call 919-245-2400 for an appointment.