The New Jersey Department of Health has issued a warning about measles after identifying a third person who may have exposed others to the contagious illness at Somerset Medical Center. For an update on this possible health scare, NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider spoke with Dr. Tina Tan, the state epidemiologist.
According to Tan, there is one confirmed case of measles. Another suspected case is associated with the Somerset Medical Center, she said.
Tan expressed concern that people may have been exposed to this highly contagious disease, which is spread through the air, while walking though the medical facilities visited by these two individuals.
“There were several facilities which the case patients had visited — one was Somerset Medical Center, another was a cancer center, as well as, a couple different public facilities throughout the Somerset region,” said Tan.
She urged anybody who may have come in contact with those areas where there may have been exposure to speak their healthcare provider of physician about protection against measles, including making sure that he or she is up to date with immunizations.
“It is really important to remember that measles is vaccine preventable and, like other vaccine preventable diseases, it’s really important that individuals do get vaccinated and are up to date on their vaccines for measles mumps rubella as well as other vaccines,” Tan explained.
Whether the individuals confirmed and suspected of having measles were vaccinated is currently being determined, Tan said.
“Measles is caused by a virus so there is no specific medication for measles,” she said. “The treatment is basically supportive, meaning that you treat for the various symptoms such as lowering the fever, giving lots of fluids to treat dehydration.”
Measles is often perceived as a childhood virus, but Tan said it’s just as important for adults to assess their protection against measles.
“Individuals who are born before 1957 are thought to have immunity but the true test and the true way of knowing that you have protection against measles is to be adequately protected with the two doses of measles, mumps, rubella vaccine or to get a blood test to determine if you’ve got protective antibodies to measles.”