The Ocean County Health Department wishes to remind residents of some appropriate precautions given the recent confirmation of measles diagnosis in Lakewood. Prior to the availability of vaccinations there were between 3 and 4 million cases reported in the United States each year, but due to widespread immunization, there were only 3 reported cases in all of New Jersey in 2017. Accordingly, confirmation of a measles diagnosis is concerning and warrants important safety reminders.
Residents are first urged to review their vaccination history for themselves and their children, calling their physician to confirm their information if necessary. 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. 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 will protect the public who may be visiting with that health care provider that day. Measles has an airborne contagion rate of up to 90% and may linger for up to 2 hours beyond the time in which the infected person is in the area. Measles symptoms usually develop 10 to 12 days after exposure to an infected person and generally last from 7 to 10 days. Initial symptoms include a fever which may exceed 104 degrees, cough, runny nose and inflamed eyes, followed by small white dots which may form inside the mouth 2 to 3 days after the start of symptoms followed by a red flat rash which usually starts on the face before spreading to other parts of the body 3 to 5 days after the start of symptoms. Measles usually spreads through coughs and sneezes and can also infect through saliva and nasal secretions.
Anyone suspecting measles should isolate themselves from others and seek medical advice over the phone. Measles have a complication rate of approximately 30% which means that the initial infection will cause other health problems for almost 1/3rd 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.
To obtain additional information, please visit our website at the Ocean County Health Department’s website at www.ochd.org. Also, please check out our new website at www.phu2.org, to access and learn more about our Public Health is You Too! campaign to help equip you to take simple steps to improve your health.