Health Department Awaits All Clear Date in Recent Measles Outbreak

Jan 08, 2019

This past fall, a measles outbreak was confirmed in Ocean County, primarily in Lakewood. As of Jan. 2, according to the county health department, there are 33 confirmed cases, with two cases under investigation.

“The measles outbreak continues until at least 42 days after the last known infection,” the health department explained in its most recent update. “The last rash onset date is Nov. 30, 2018, and four days of infection ended on Dec. 4, 2018. Therefore, at present, at least 42 days must elapse from the date of Dec. 4, 2018 prior to consideration of an end to the measles outbreak.”

Individuals are reminded to check their immunization records to ensure they have been vaccinated. Vaccination is encouraged, and any children involved with exposure to a confirmed case may be subject to an order of exclusion if not vaccinated.

Additionally, the department emphasizes, “if there is any sign of symptoms, contact your healthcare provider prior to showing up at that provider’s office so that appropriate arrangements can be made for examination or treatment.”

Measles has an airborne contagion rate of up to 90 percent, and may linger for up to two hours beyond the time in which an infected person is in the area. The disease usually spreads through coughs and sneezes and can also infect through saliva and nasal secretions.

Symptoms typically develop 10 to 12 days after exposure to an infected person, and generally last from seven to 10 days. Initial symptoms include a fever, which may exceed 104 degrees, as well as a cough, runny nose and inflamed eyes. Small white dots may form inside the mouth two to three days after the start of symptoms. This may be followed by a red flat rash that usually starts on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.

“Measles have a complication rate of approximately 30 percent, which means that the initial infection will cause other health problems for almost one third of those infected,” the health department pointed out. “Complications may be severe for pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems, as well as children less than 5 years of age. Pneumonia, brain inflammation and corneal ulceration are among such potential complications.”

For additional information, visit ochd.org or phu2.org. —J.K.-H.

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