News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners

Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Sara Sooy, Commissioner Deputy Director

Melonie Marano, Commissioner Ÿ Paul M. Drake, Commissioner Ÿ Douglas Singleterry, Commissioner

For Immediate Release
June 7, 2024
Contact: Nathan Rudy, Public Information Officer, (908) 635-8401 nrudy@co.somerset.nj.us

Measles Case in Somerset County Prompts Officials to be Alert to Symptoms of Highly Contagious Disease

Visitors to Penn Medicine Emergency Room in Plainsboro on June 1 Advised to Contact Healthcare Provider

 

SOMERVILLE NJ – The Somerset County Department of Health (SCDOH) is alerting residents about potential exposure associated with a confirmed, travel-associated case of measles. Individuals – especially parents, guardians, health care providers, and caregivers – are urged to be aware of the symptoms of this highly contagious virus and to stay up to date with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) shots.

The confirmed case is a resident of Somerset County who developed measles following travel from a country that is currently experiencing an ongoing outbreak of measles. Anyone who visited the following location at the specified date and times may have been exposed to the virus:

  • Location: Emergency Department, Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center 1 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro Township, NJ 08536
  • Date & Time: June 1, 2024, between 12:00 PM (noon) and 3:30 PM

Local and state health officials recommend that anyone who visited the location listed above during the specified date and times should contact a health care provider immediately to discuss potential exposure and risk of developing the illness.

Potentially exposed individuals, if infected, could develop symptoms as late as June 26, 2024. Contact tracing is underway. As of June 5th, no additional associated cases have been identified.

Measles is a very contagious respiratory virus and can lead to serious medical complications. It is spread from person to person through the air. When an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes, the virus is released into the air and enters another person’s body through the nose, mouth or throat.  The measles virus can live on contaminated surfaces and in the air for up to two hours. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the contaminated surface, then touch their eyes, noses, or mouths, they can become infected. People can also become sick if they encounter mucus or saliva (spit) from an infected person. Even before showing symptoms, someone with measles can spread the virus to others, starting 4 days before the onset of measles rash and continuing for 4 days after.

Measles can cause a high fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, and rash (3-5 days after symptoms begin). The rash usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and then spreads down to the neck, torso, arms, legs, and feet. Measles can lead to significant health complications such as pneumonia, swelling of the brain, and death. Those that are more likely to suffer from complications include: children under the age of 5, adults 20 years or older, pregnant people, and those with weakened immune systems.

Individuals who are not protected against measles are at risk. The best protection against measles is measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The Somerset County Department of Health encourages parents to follow CDC’s immunization schedule and stay up to date on the recommended vaccines. The measles vaccine is not recommended for infants younger than 6 months of age. Getting vaccinated against measles not only protects you, but it also protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons.

Being “exposed” means you’ve been in a situation where you can catch the virus from someone who already has measles. For example, you can be exposed to the measles virus by being in the same room, home, office, or waiting room with someone who has measles.

Individuals who have been exposed to measles or have developed symptoms of the illness should call their healthcare provider immediately and before arriving at any healthcare facility to ensure necessary precautions can be taken to protect others.

 

Measles can spread before any symptoms of the illness are present and contact with others should be limited if exposure or illness is suspected.

Residents who are planning to travel internationally, should talk to their healthcare provider about the measles vaccination. Individuals should be fully vaccinated against measles at least 2 weeks before they leave. After returning from international travel, residents should watch for symptoms for 3 weeks.

For more information about measles, visit the CDC’s webpage on measles.

It is important to stay informed through reliable resources. Follow public health experts such as the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/, the New Jersey Department of Health at http://www.nj.gov/health and the Somerset County Department of Health at SoCoNJ.gov/health.

The Somerset County Department of Health is the lead agency for public health emergency preparedness and response in Somerset County. Funding for these activities is provided by the CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement through the New Jersey Department of Health.

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