LAKEWOOD — The Ocean County Department of Health has reversed course and said schools and child care facilities can refuse to admit children who have not been vaccinated against the measles.

Six cases of measles have been confirmed in Lakewood during the current outbreak, and another eight cases remain under investigation, according to OCHD spokesman Dan Regenye.  Earlier, the department urged schools to allow un-vaccinated student to be in school unless there was evidence they had been exposed.

In an updated statement obtained by the Lakewood Scoop, Regenye said that state policy NJAC 8:57 gives schools autonomy to "exclude children with religious or medical exemptions during a vaccine-preventable outbreak or threatened outbreak" as determined by the state health commissioner.

"The OCHD "highly encourages" and "supports" the policy, according to Regenye.

Regenye said that the OCHD is working with the state Department of Health to stay ahead of the outbreak.

9,000 doses of MMR have been provided to the various outlets in Lakewood, with CHEMED Center for Health, Education, Medicine and Dentistry (CHEMED) administering 2,000 shots in the past week. Ocean Health Initiative (OHI) administered 500 vaccinations.

Symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Measles can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). In pregnant women, measles can lead to miscarriage, premature birth or a low birth weight.

55 cases were confirmed as of Friday in Rockland County, New York mostly in the New Square, Spring Valley and Monsey, according to the Rockland County Department of Health. The RCDOH, Refuah Health Center, and private pediatricians and family doctors have administered over 6,100 doses of MMR vaccine. As in Lakewood, the outbreak began when a resident returned home from a trip to Israel.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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