The New Jersey Department of Health is warning residents about at least two additional confirmed cases of measles — a highly contagious disease — who could have exposed others to the infection while in Ocean County between October 25 and 30. These individuals developed symptoms after being exposed to an individual who acquired measles while traveling internationally. The Department of Health is considering this an outbreak of measles in the community.
Anyone who visited the following locations may have been exposed to measles:
- NPGS, 231 Main St, Lakewood, NJ 08701
- October 25 between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.
- October 29 between 2:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.
- Pizza Plus, 241 4th St, Lakewood, NJ 08701 on October 28 between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
The Department is working in collaboration with the Ocean County Health Department to identify and notify people who might have been exposed during the time the individuals were infectious. In the event that additional exposure locations are identified, information will be updated on the Department’s measles page.
The Department urges residents to remain vigilant for any symptoms of measles. Measles symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. It can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Measles infection in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, premature birth or a low-birth-weight baby. Measles is easily spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person.
The Department recommends that anyone who visited any of the locations listed above during the specified dates/times should contact a health provider immediately to discuss potential exposure and risk of developing the illness. If you have been exposed, you are at risk if you have not been vaccinated or have not had measles. Individuals potentially exposed, if infected, could develop symptoms as late as November 20.
Anyone who suspects an exposure is urged to call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department. Special arrangements can be made for evaluation while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection.
Anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not had measles is at risk if they are exposed. “Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles,” said Dr. Christina Tan, state epidemiologist.
“We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons. If you’re planning an international trip, the World Health Organization recommends that adults or adolescents unsure of their immune status get a dose of measles vaccine before traveling,” Dr. Tan added.
Before international travel:
- Infants 6 through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine. Infants who get one dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should get two more doses (one dose at 12 through 15 months of age and another dose separated by at least 28 days).
- Children 1 year and older should receive two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.
- Teenagers and adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.