Could the worst measles outbreak in decades finally be over?

Posted: Updated:

The number of measles cases in Rockland County and across the country appears to have leveled off the last few weeks, leading some health officials to speculate the outbreak may finally be coming to an end.

Experts say they are cautiously optimistic that the worst measles outbreak in decades may finally be over.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says there have been only 14 new cases reported nationally since last week. It’s a significant drop from earlier in the year when the number of cases climbed above 1,000.

In Rockland County, the epicenter of the outbreak, there have been only three new cases reported since late June.

MORE: Chasing the Virus: Resources and Measles Information 

“I think it's a combination of a saturation effect of the susceptibles having gotten infected who were not vaccinated, together with the standard proven seasonal trend where we get into the midsummer, you generally see less of these types of things,” says Fauci.

Dr. Doug Puder, of the Rockland County Pediatric Society, says measles often declines in the summer because people spend less time indoors where the disease spreads more easily.

“Measles was always a late winter, early spring peak time,” he says.

Puder also credits the county's drop in cases to the fact that Rockland County health officials have administered nearly 25,000 measles vaccines since the outbreak began in October. He says parents still need to take the necessary precautions recommended in outbreak areas.

“If your child is over 6 months, make sure they get a measles vaccine. If they're over age 1, they should have two doses,” he says.

Experts say they will declare the outbreak over when the county or the country has not had any continuous cases for 12 consecutive months.

Rockland County health officials say they will continue giving out free measles vaccines at the department's clinic in Pomona during the month of July. No appointment is necessary.

MORE: American Camp Association sues Rockland over measles measures , Rockland County executive issues 4th state of emergency on measles ,Rockland hosts free measles clinic in synagogue ,Health officials: Over 1,000 people contracted measles this year ,Measles cases rise to over 1,000 across the country ,Camp director: Summer camp is safest place for kids amid measles outbreak ,Jewish leaders to hold measles informational forum for women in Monsey ,Rockland extends measles state of emergency ,Lost in translation: Rockland measles doorhangers include botched Yiddish text ,2 Rockland residents on federal 'Do Not Board List' amid measles concerns ,Free vaccine clinic held in Suffern church amid measles outbreak 

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