Ocean County Health Department Urges Review of Vaccination History After Outbreak of Measles in Lakewood

Nov 04, 2018

In the wake of four recent measles diagnoses in Lakewood – enough to constitute an outbreak – the Ocean County Health Department reminds residents of precautions to prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease, beginning with a review of vaccination history for oneself and any children.

Prior to the availability of vaccinations, there were between three million and four million cases of measles in the United States each year. Due to widespread immunization, however, there were only three reported cases in all of New Jersey in 2017. “Accordingly, confirmation of a measles diagnosis is concerning and warrants important safety reminders,” the health department notes.

“In the event any symptoms of measles infection are detected, it is highly recommended that a call be placed to one’s primary care physician, who will advise what precautions should be taken and the manner in which an office visit may be arranged,” the department states. “It is urged that any person who suspects that he or she is infected with measles not show up at a health care provider without having made prior arrangements with that provider.” This measure is necessary to protect the general public, as 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.

Measles 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.

According to the health department, “Anyone suspecting measles should isolate themselves from others and seek medical advice over the phone. 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. 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 and phu2.org. —J.K.-H.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.