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New Jersey Authorities Confirm Travel-Related Measles Cases: What's The Threat?

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New Jersey authorities warn the public of possible measles exposure in various locations in the state, including the busy Newark Airport. What's the threat of measles exposure, and how can travelers prevent disease contraction?

New Jersey Measles Cases

Several cases of measles related to various locations in New Jersey were confirmed by authorities. The ill individuals evidently visited or passed through four locations in New Jersey, potentially exposing anyone who might have encountered them as well. In fact, the recorded cases involve an individual who briefly passed through New Jersey while on a tour bus from Niagara Falls, while another confirmed case is related to an exposure from an international traveler.

The potential exposures might have occurred at the Towne Centre at Englewood Apartments, Renaissance Office Center, Columbia Travel Center, and Newark Liberty International Airport, Terminal C, between April 24 to May 2, but anyone who might have been exposed could develop symptoms of the disease as late as May 23.

As such, authorities are urging members of the public who may have been exposed to contact a health care provider and those who are not yet vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.

What's The Threat?

Measles is a potentially deadly disease that remains to be fairly common in many parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, and Europe. Each year, over 89,000 people who get measles die from it, often from complications such as pneumonia or swelling of the brain. In fact, for every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.

In the United States, most cases of measles are actually brought into the country by unvaccinated people who get the disease from other countries, which makes the current measles exposure at the Newark Airport particularly dangerous, as it is one of the busiest airports in the country, with many local and international travelers passing through every day.

Measles Complications

The disease can pose a serious threat to all age groups, but those below five years old and adults over 20 years old are actually likelier to suffer complications. These complications could be as common as diarrhea or ear infections to as severe as brain swelling, pneumonia, and premature births for pregnant women.

Among children, one out of 20 who get measles develop pneumonia, which is actually the most common cause of death in young children who get measles, while one out of a thousand children who get measles can develop brain swelling, which can cause deafness or intellectual disabilities.

What Can Be Done?

As cases of measles in the country often come from travelers, anyone without protection could contract it in other countries and take it back to the United States when they return, As such, the CDC recommends travelers of all ages to get the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine before any international travel.

Infants often get three doses of the MMR vaccine by 15 months of age, while adults who are unprotected must get two doses of the vaccination, separated by at least 28 days.

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