measles vaccine

Markell DeLoatch, Public Opinion, USA Today

NJ Measles Cases Continue To Rise As Parents Forgo Vaccinations

November 24, 2018 - 4:47 pm

LAKEWOOD, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) — New Jersey health officials have confirmed more cases of measles in a central New Jersey community.

The latest confirmed cases bring the total to 15 in Ocean County.

RELATED: Historic Measles Outbreak Worsens In New York

Officials say the infected people may have exposed others to the disease while they were at sites in Lakewood between Oct. 25 and Nov. 7.

The state health department considers this an outbreak of measles in the community.

One of the infected people also may have exposed people in Passaic to the disease between Nov. 17-18, when he or she visited a deli and a pharmacy. 

This comes on top of the 77 confirmed cases in Rockland County and 29 in Brooklyn. 

RELATED: 74 Cases Of Measles Confirmed In Rockland County

Glenn Fennelly, of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, says parents who don't get their kids vaccinated are putting others in danger. 

"This appears to be the result of families deciding not to immunize their children according to the recommended schedule," he said.

Current records show the amount of families in New Jersey not vaccinating their kids has doubled in the last five years; now around 5-7percent of kids aren't vaccinated in certain areas where parents may be more likely to claim a religious exemption, Fennelly said.

"You are putting your child at risk for a potentially lethal infection and you're putting the community at risk as well," he said. 

Fennelly said the real danger is someone who has contracted the disease but may not know it yet. 

"The person could have measles and be at the beginning of a case with only relatively minor symptoms and could be spreading it," he said. 

Measles is a highly contagious disease. Symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.

Anyone who suspects they were exposed should call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department so special arrangements can be made for an evaluation. This also protects other people and medical staff from possible infection.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report)