Measles Case Traced to Local Daycare Facility
The Camden County Health Department has confirmed a case of measles in a school-aged child who attends a daycare facility in the county. Health officials say the child developed symptoms after being exposed to an out-of-state visitor with measles at the facility.
Testing at the New Jersey Public Health Laboratory confirmed the measles case on January 12th. An investigation is underway to identify any additional exposures at the daycare or other locations in the county.
Health Department Notifies Facilities of Potential Exposure
Upon confirmation of the measles case, the Camden County Health Department immediately notified local hospitals, healthcare facilities, schools, and additional childcare centers that may have been exposed.
Potential exposure locations identified so far include:
- The daycare facility attended by the infected child
- Cooper University Hospital’s Emergency Department
- Cooper University Hospital’s MRI Department
- Cooper University Physicians Pediatric Specialty Care office in Voorhees
- Two area pediatric office practices
Anyone present at these facilities on the exposure dates may have been infected. Health officials urge patients, staff, parents, caregivers and children who may have been present to check their vaccination records and watch for measles symptoms.
Measles Symptoms and Prevention
Measles is an extremely contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus. Symptoms typically appear 7-14 days after exposure but can take up to 21 days to develop.
Early symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red watery eyes. A skin rash then develops, usually starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body. The rash can last for up to a week.
In severe cases, measles can lead to pneumonia, swelling of the brain, hospitalization, and even death. There have been no deaths reported so far in this outbreak.
The best way to prevent measles is through vaccination with the safe and effective MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Two doses are approximately 97% effective at preventing infection.
Call for Vaccinations After Declining Immunization Rates
Health officials expressed concern that declining childhood vaccination rates may be contributing to outbreaks.
While measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, cases have been rising in recent years as immunization coverage has dropped:
|Measles Cases in US
Officials urge all children and adults to check that they have received the recommended two MMR vaccine doses, which offer long-lasting protection against measles and other dangerous diseases.
Response Coordination to Limit Spread
The Camden County Health Department is collaborating closely with the New Jersey Department of Health, local health departments, healthcare providers and facilities to respond to the outbreak.
Contact tracing is underway to identify all possible exposures from the initial case. Any unvaccinated people who shared airspace with the infected individual will likely need to quarantine for at least 21 days after exposure.
Officials say the risk remains low for fully vaccinated individuals. But additional measles cases are possible, so health department staff will continue monitoring the situation.
Residents with measles questions or potential exposures should contact the Camden County Health Department or their healthcare provider immediately to prevent further spread.
In summary, one confirmed measles case has been linked to a local Camden County daycare facility after exposure from an infected out-of-state visitor. Health officials have notified exposed hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools and daycares of the situation.
While the infected child is recovering, authorities are conducting contact tracing and closely monitoring the outbreak threat level. In the meantime they strongly advise all area residents to get fully vaccinated with two doses of the safe, effective MMR shot. Immunization remains the best way to keep measles at bay in our communities.
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