As more cases of measles were confirmed in Lakewood, medical authorities declared an official “outbreak” and urged the public to take precautions.
The CHEMED clinic, which had confirmed the first cases two weeks ago, set up an outdoor area to treat patients who suspect they have the virus without exposing others to the highly contagious illness.
“In accordance with the recommendations of the CDC and our physicians, patients exhibiting measles symptoms cannot enter our facilities until further notice, as they could potentially expose other CHEMED patients to the virus,” said the clinic in a statement. “Those patients will be examined in a special outdoor triage area, where they will receive first class medical care.”
The number of measles cases in Orthodox communities around the New York area has been steadily rising since early October. Most have been traced to individuals who had spent time in Eretz Yisrael recently. As of early this week, reports said that Lakewood had four confirmed cases.
As has already occurred in other affected communities, several Lakewood schools reviewed student’s immunization records and requested unimmunized pupils to remain at home until they can be effectively vaccinated. Some shuls and businesses around town as well have posted signs asking un-immunized individuals not to enter the premises.
CHEMED and the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) urged the public to check that their vaccination records are up to date.
“Prior to the availability of vaccinations there were between 3 and 4 million cases reported in the United States each year, but due to widespread immunization, there were only 3 reported cases in all of New Jersey in 2017,” said OCHD in a statement. “Accordingly, confirmation of a measles diagnosis is concerning and warrants important safety reminders.”