Health officials warn of possible measles exposure in Hudson County, NJ

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. – A New Jersey man who contracted measles while overseas may have exposed that highly contagious virus to others at several places in Jersey City, health officials said Friday, urging residents and visitors in that area to compare their behavior to that of the patient to see if they may be at risk.

“We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations,” epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan said in a news release.

“Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons. If you’re planning an international trip, the World Health Organization recommends that adults or adolescents unsure of their immune status get a dose of measles vaccine before traveling.”

Anyone who has not been vaccinated against measles or has not had the illness is at risk if they are exposed to the virus, according to the State of New Jersey Department of Health.

The patient, identified only as a man from Hudson County, may have exposed others to the illness at several locations in Jersey City between Jan. 16 and Jan. 24, health officials said. He contracted the disease while traveling abroad and is now recovering at home.

These are the places he visited, and the dates and times of his visits, where others may have been exposed:

  • Christ Hospital, 176 Palisade Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306:
    Jan. 20 to Jan. 21, between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.
    Jan. 22, between 4:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • PATH Stations: Journal Square and Newport
    PATH Train: Journal Square – 33rd St Line
    Jan. 17, between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
    Jan. 17, between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
  • Newport Tower, 525 Washington Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07310
    Jan. 17, between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
    Jan. 18, between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
  • Newport Mall, 30 Mall Drive West, Jersey City, NJ 07310
    Jan. 17, between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • 145 Harborside, Plaza 2, Jersey City, NJ 07331
    Jan. 19, between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • LabCorp, 600 Pavonia Ave., Jersey City, 07306
    Jan. 19, between 12 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.
  • Duane Reade (Journal Square), 1 Path Plaza, Jersey City, NJ 07306
    Jan. 19, between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • Square 1 (Restaurant), 283 St Pauls Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306
    Jan. 21, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

If you suspect you’ve been exposed, health officials urge you to call a health care provider before going to the doctor’s office or emergency room so special arrangements can be made to evaluate you while also protecting others from possible infection.

Anyone who may have been exposed to the virus during those times could develop symptoms as late as Feb. 14, health officials said. Those symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, running nose and red, watery eyes.

Measles is highly contagious and spreads easily through the air through talking, coughing or sneezing and can also be spread by coming into contact with the mucus or saliva of an infected person, health officials said.

While two doses of a measles vaccine is more than 99 percent effective in preventing the illness, a measles infection can be serious.

Twenty percent of patients, especially kids younger than 5 and adults older than 20, experience complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, health officials said. If a pregnant woman contracts measles, it could lead to miscarriage, premature birth or low-birth weight.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the MMR vaccine, which also protects recipients from mumps and rubella, be given to children between 12 and 15 months old followed by a second dose when they are between 4 and 6 years old.