HEALTH DEPARTMENT REMINDING RESIDENTS AND HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS TO REMAIN VIGILANT DESPITE MEASLES OUTBREAK OVER!
(Toms River) – Measles may not be making the headlines it once was a few months ago, however, the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) is reminding residents and health care providers in Ocean County to still consider the disease as a potential threat.
“We certainly learned from the last measles outbreaks that they can sneak up at anytime without any real warning. That’s why it’s important we stay proactive and remind everyone – our residents and our health care professionals – to maintain the best health practices in order to reduce the threat of a new outbreak in our community,” says Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health.
While there are currently no cases of measles in Ocean County, it’s still very possible to see intermittent cases. The OCHD is currently communicating with 8 Ocean County residents who were exposed to a confirmed case in northern New Jersey.
“The Ocean County Health Department is urging providers to maintain vigilance for suspect cases of measles and have a high index of suspicion for measles in persons with a clinically compatible illness as there might be undiagnosed or unreported cases within the community. “Additionally, we are reminding providers to contact the health department immediately per N.J.A.C. 8:57 in the event of a measles diagnosis or suspect case,” explains Daniel E. Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator.
Anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not had measles is at risk if they are exposed to a person who is infected. The Ocean County Health Department still advises residents who have not been vaccinated to receive the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age appropriate immunizations.
Regenye added, Studies reveal the measles vaccine is very safe and effective with the two required doses being about 97 percent effective in preventing the disease. It’s also important to be protected if you are travelling internationally.”
Measles symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. It can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Measles infection in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, premature birth or a low-birth-weight baby.
By coughing or sneezing, someone can spread the virus for four days before the telltale rash appears. The measles virus can live up to two (2) hours in the air or on nearby surfaces. Up to 9 out of 10 susceptible persons with close contact to a measles patient will develop measles.
Little continued, “If someone is suspected of being exposed to or having measles they are urged to call a health care provider before going to a medical clinic or emergency department so that appropriate arrangements can be made for examination or treatment.”
For more information regarding measles, please click on the Ocean County Health Department 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.