PARAMUS, NJ – Spurred by the worst measles outbreak the country has seen in nearly 20 years, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center has created a program to educate the public about the disease.

On Thursday, New Bridge will present “Measles: Separating Fact From Fiction – What First Responders and the Community Need To Know” from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

The free program will be held at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, 230 East Ridgewood Avenue, Paramus, and will include free MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) screenings. A light dinner will also be served.

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“Many misconceptions exist regarding measles and vaccinations,” Bergen New Bridge President and CEO Deborah Visconi said. “We wanted to put something together using our experts to help mitigate misperception and provide peace of mind to anyone who has concerns about their current immunity, as well as provide vaccination to those who may need it.”

In 2019, at least 764 cases across 23 states have been reported, prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to declare it the worst year for measles since the disease was eradicated in 2000 by vaccinations.

The majority of cases have been reported in people who are unvaccinated or are under the age of 18, according to the CDC.

The biggest concentration of cases are in New York, Washington and Michigan, and outbreaks have been linked to travelers who brought the disease back from countries such as Israel, Ukraine and the Philipines, according to the CDC.

In New Jersey, more than a dozen cases have been identified in at least four counties: Bergen, Essex, Monmouth and Ocean.  Bergen County officials are also continuing to monitor a measles outbreak across the border in Rockland County, NY, where more than 200 cases have been reported and a state of emergency has been declared.

Visconi said, “Measles is a very serious, potentially life threatening disease. Being able to offer this educational forum is a vital part of our role in the community.”

Click here to register for free tickets to Thursday's program.