More Measles Cases and Children Exempt from Vaccines in New Jersey

Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Wednesday, September 4th, 2019
A new analysis from the Center for Health Analytics, Research, and Transformation (CHART) at the New Jersey Hospital Association displays a growing number of New Jersey students receiving exemptions from the minimum required vaccinations.

According to CHART’s analysis of data in the Annual Immunization Status Reports from the New Jersey Department of Health, the number of children receiving vaccine exemptions has increased by nearly 53 percent. The study demonstrates that 1.7 percent of students – about 17 out of every 1,000 pupils – received the exemption in the 2013-2014 school year, compared with 2.6 percent in the 2018-2019 school year.

The report also mentions the decline in public trust in vaccine safety, with consequences that go beyond the health of communities and individuals.

New Jersey has also become a major part of the significant rise in measles cases in the United States. 1,203 individual cases were confirmed in 30 states through August 15, 2019. New Jersey represents 18 of those cases, confirmed through August 16, with Ocean County having the highest number of cases. The seven-month national total is already more than triple the amount of cases reported in all of 2018.

Being aware of the common signs and symptoms of this infection will help stop the spread of future measles cases. Symptoms of measles can occur 7-14 days after contact with the virus and typically include high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. After 2-3 days of the initial symptoms, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth.

The measles rash will start to appear 3-5 days after the first symptoms. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104° Fahrenheit.

Call your doctor immediately if you think you or your child have been exposed to measles.

References
  1. Study: N.J. sees more measles cases and more children exempted from vaccinations [news release]. New Jersey Hospital Association; August 25, 2019. http://www.njha.com/pressroom/. Accessed September 4, 2019.
  2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Signs and symptoms of measles. CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/measles/symptoms/signs-symptoms.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fmeasles%2Fabout%2Fsigns-symptoms.html. Published June 13, 2019. Accessed September 4, 2019.



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