Measles returns to Ocean County a month after outbreak ended
The state Department of Health warned residents on Wednesday about a new confirmed case of measles in Ocean County.
Health officials said the resident could have possibly exposed others to the highly contagious disease late last month in Lakewood at two Orthodox Synagogues.
Anyone who visited Congregation Sons of Israel on Park Avenue on Tuesday, Feb. 26, between 5:30 and 8:15 p.m. could have been exposed. Officials said the patient also was at Kol Shimshon on Squankum Road on Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Anyone exposed is at risk if they have not been vaccinated or have not had measles, officials added. Individuals exposed and infected could develop their first symptoms as late as March 25.
The disease is easily spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes, as well as through contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person.
Measles symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.
Between October 2018 and January 2019, state and local health officials dealt with an outbreak of measles, with 30 confirmed cases in Ocean County residents. There were also 3 cases in one Passaic County household, directly tied to the "outbreak community" state officials said.
That outbreak was considered over on Jan. 16, after two incubation periods (a total of 42 days) had passed from the last day the last known case was infectious, health officials said.
Measles can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain), while pregnant women who are infected are at danger of miscarrying. There also is risk of premature birth or a low-birth-weight baby.
"Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles,” according to state epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan.
The World Health Organization has recommended that adults or adolescents unsure of their immune status get a dose of measles vaccine before traveling,” Tan said.
New Jersey residents who are unsure of their immunity to measles are advised by state health officials to try to find vaccination records through their healthcare provider.
Another option is to have a blood test, though it's a more expensive option and could involve two doctor’s visits.