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DHHS investigating measles outbreak in Orange, Stokes counties

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is investigating seven cases of measles in Orange and Stokes counties.

Local public health departments are contacting people who may have been exposed to these cases and will provide them with a vaccine to limit the spread of infection. 

"Measles is very uncommon in North Carolina, so many people aren't aware of the symptoms," said Dr. Laura Gerald, State Health Director. "Measles spreads quickly, particularly in children and adults who aren't vaccinated.  We want to make the public aware of this outbreak so individuals can take steps to protect themselves and their families."

Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air by coughing and sneezing.  It also can be transmitted through contact with secretions from the nose or mouth of an infected person.

Symptoms may include fever, runny nose, watery red eyes and cough. After a few days, a rash appears on the head and spreads over the entire body. Measles can lead to pneumonia and other complications, especially in young children.

Although the early symptoms of measles can be similar to those of many other infections, Dr. Gerald recommends that anyone with fever, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough, should stay at home and limit contact with others to avoid spreading illness. 

If you develop a rash or if your symptoms worsen, call your doctor or seek medical care. 

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