ADVISORY: Ongoing Measles Outbreak

Published on Apr 30, 2019 at 03:19p.m.

In light of the recently increasing  numbers of Measles cases in Rockland County (NY) and Ocean County (NJ), I would like to share with some fact and precautions associated with this disease.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. About 3 out of 10 people who get Measles will develop one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections, or diarrhea. In rare cases, it can be deadly. Complications are more common in adults and young children. Measles infection in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, premature birth or a low-birth weight baby.

Anyone who suspects an exposure is urged to call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency room. Special arrangements can be made for you to be evaluated while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection.

You can follow these steps that prevent the transmission of Measles:

  • Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you. Ensure that all individuals living in and interacting with communities with ongoing Measles transmission are age-appropriately vaccinated including adults working in school/daycare settings.
  • Your primary care provider can determine what vaccines you need and to also discuss your immunity to Measles, especially prior to international travel.
    • Children need on-time vaccination throughout childhood because it helps provide immunity before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
    • Adults need to keep their vaccinations up to date.
  • Ensure that all individuals engage in appropriate hand and respiratory hygiene.
    • Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Waterless hand sanitizers should not be substituted for soap and water.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands or into the air. Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues and dispose of them properly.
  • Clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters, etc.) regularly with a disinfectant solution.
  • Schools/daycares may enhance vaccination policies. Symptomatic individuals must be excluded from schools/daycares. In addition, may also implement policies to exclude unvaccinated children from school/daycare during outbreaks.
    • Should an exposure to Measles occur at a school/daycare, public health authorities will recommend that all children/staff without proof of immunity be excluded from school/daycare and placed in quarantine (staying at home and away from public places until the outbreak is declared over). Public health officials will determine the appropriate length of time for the exclusion.

The NJDOHs priority is to protect the health of children, adolescents, and adults, and to reduce the occurrence of vaccine-preventable diseases. Therefore, the NJDOH continues to stress basic infection prevention activities such as covering your mouth/nose when coughing or sneezing, cleaning your hands, and ensuring you’re up to date with vaccinations. Since outbreaks are still ongoing in parts of New York and in other countries, individuals should continue to look for signs and symptoms of Measles. Individuals who are ill should not attend school/daycare or work to prevent the spread of disease to others.

For more information about Measles, contact your health care provider or visit the following websites:

Measles Guidance for Schools

2019 Measles Outbreak in Ocean County: What You Need to Know 3.20.19

Measles FAQ’s

Parents: Making the Vaccine Decision and Protect Your Child at Every Age

Vaccine Information for Adults

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