To the Editor:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) reported over 800 cases of measles in the United States since January 1, 2019. This is the most measles cases reported here in a single year since 1994. At least 14 of these cases were reported in New Jersey. The New Jersey Department of Health (“NJDOH”) website provides extensive information about these New Jersey outbreaks.
Measles is caused by a virus that infects the respiratory system, causing fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, and a rash. The rash 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.
There is no cure for measles but a vaccine is available. The vaccine is so effective that CDC declared endemic measles eliminated from the United States in 2000 through nationwide vaccination. CDC attributes the current outbreak to unvaccinated United States residents traveling to countries with endemic measles and bringing the virus back with them.
Continued vaccination is, therefore, an important step in curbing the current outbreak. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”), vaccinating yourself and your children can save your lives, protects other people who cannot receive the vaccine (like those with leukemia or other conditions that weaken the immune system), and protects future generations.
DHHS, CDC, and NJDOH all agree that the measles vaccine is safe and effective.
The Chatham Borough Board of Health, along with DHHS, CDC, and NJDOH, encourage you to protect yourself, your family, and your community by speaking to your doctor about measles vaccination.
Chatham Board of Health member