In light of recent updates regarding the measles outbreak in Rockland County, Northwest Bergen Regional Health Commission continues to emphasize both the need to immunize as well as the importance of individuals knowing their vaccination status. Currently, there are no measles outbreaks or cases in Bergen County, but it is important that we remain vigilant in disease prevention and protection.
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. Measles is easily spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person.
Anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not had measles is at risk if they are exposed. "Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles,” said Dr. Christina Tan, state epidemiologist.
“We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons. If you’re planning an international trip, the World Health Organization recommends that adults or adolescents unsure of their immune status get a dose of measles vaccine before traveling,” Dr. Tan added.
The NJDOH recommends that if you are unvaccinated, you should avoid going to communities where there is an active measles outbreak.
A document with information on what to do if you’ve been exposed to measles is available here:http://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/documents/topics/measles/measles_exposure_guidance_public.pdf
For more information about measles, contact your health care provider, or visit the New Jersey Department of Health website here:http://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/measles.shtml