OCEAN COUNTY – Measles isn’t making headlines these days, but the Ocean County Health Department wants residents to know the disease is still a concern.
“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,” Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little said. He’s liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health.
The department is communicating with eight county residents who were exposed to a confirmed case of the measles in North Jersey. There are no confirmed cases in Ocean County now.
“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,” Daniel E. Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator, said.
Those who have never been vaccinated against measles, or have never had the disease, are at risk of infection if exposed. Most outbreaks have been related to those traveling internationally, and then exposing others once back in the United States.
The Health Department urges anyone not vaccinated to see their health care provider to update their shots. Those who believe they may have been exposed to measles should make arrangements to be checked by their physician.
The tell-tale signs of measles includes rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Complications like pneumonia and encephalitis can occur. Pregnant women who contract the disease can miscarry, go into premature labor or deliver a low-weight baby.
Measles is spread through coughing and sneezing. The virus can live in the air and surfaces for hours, and symptoms can take weeks to show.
For more information regarding measles, please click on the Ocean County Health Department website at ochd.org.