Ocean County measles cases climb to 6 — another 7 possible
LAKEWOOD — A sixth case of measles was confirmed on Wednesday by the Ocean County Department of Health.
It's part of outbreak that started with an adult male who returned from a trip to Israel in late October and then went to the the Center for Health, Education, Medicine and Dentistry (CHEMED) medical facility in Lakewood when he noticed a rash on his back.
The latest cases are both adults from Lakewood with seven additional cases under investigation.
OCHD spokesman Dan Regenye said residents should check their vaccination status, get vaccinated if they can and contact their medical provider if they have any signs or symptoms of measles.
Regenye said the OCHD is communicating daily with the state Department of Health. He said that at least 1,000 measles vaccinations have been administered since the outbreak started. Many pediatric doses are the result of the state relaxation of regulations to allow children as young as 6 months to receive their first MMR vaccinations. The second shot, which is usually administered when a child is 4 to 6 years old, can also be given earlier.
CHMED continues to have tents in their parking lot to examine those who believe they think they may have come in contact with measles. Regenye stressed it is important for people to call ahead to their medical provider before showing up at a clinic so that arrangements can be made to avoid exposing other people.
Despite warnings from some religious schools that students who have not been vaccinated will be prohibited from class, Regenye said that the OCHD is recommending that only those with a confirmed exposure be kept home.
Symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Measles can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). In pregnant women, measles can lead to miscarriage, premature birth or a low birth weight.