CHAPEL HILL – Four additional cases of measles have been diagnosed in Orange County, bringing the county total to five cases.

That’s according to Orange County Health Director, Dr. Colleen Bridger.

“There are still people who die from getting measles. This is a serious childhood illness,” Bridger said.

She says each new case was already under quarantine during the time they were contagious.

The first case in Orange County was reported to the public on April 18. The state Health Department has identified six other cases in Stokes County.

Of the four new cases, one is an adult and the other three are children. The children range in age from 9-11 years; three attend Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill and one attends Grady Brown Elementary School in Hillsborough.

It is believed that the children were not exposed to measles at school, but at a separate location.

‘We knew that they had been exposed to the original case, so we put them under quarantine on April 15 during the time they were contagious. Right now, we do not think that these four children and one adult have exposed anybody else to measles,” Bridger said.

Before this outbreak, 2011 was the last time a measles case was reported in North Carolina and it was just one person.

Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR— the measles, mumps, and rubella— vaccine.

The earliest a child can be vaccinated is one year of age and then the second dose can be given 30 days later.

The good news is that once you are vaccinated, you cannot contract the measles.