TOMS RIVER — Cases of pertussis (aka whooping cough) and varicella (chickenpox) were confirmed in Ocean County by the county Health Department while a case of measles was under investigation.

A message about the cases was first posted on the Center for Health, Education, Medicine and Dentistry (CHEMED) website on Wednesday. The message did not disclose any details about the cases. CHEMED provides a variety of medical services to Lakewood residents, including pediatrics, women's health, dentistry, and radiology.

A 27-year-old man told the Lakewood Scoop a large rash developed on his body several days ago when he became sick and went to a doctor.

Ocean County Health Department spokesman Dan Regenye the measles case is a "suspected case" and is under investigation and confirmed active instances of pertussis and varicella.

"While some of the symptoms were indicative of measles there were some key symptoms missing. CHEMED is doing some additional testing and getting guidence from us as well as the state health department and infectious disease doctors. They're doing everything they should be doing at this point," Regenye told New Jersey 101.5.

Regenye said Ocean County is seeing a resurgence in vaccine preventable diseases such as pertussis and varicella. There were 17 cases of pertussis in 2017 countywide, Regenye said, adding that the number of cases in 2018 has not reached that level.

Rash on the body of a 27-year-old man in Lakewood
Rash on the body of a 27-year-old man in Lakewood (The Lakewood Scoop)

In early October, the New Jersey Department of Health issued a warning about a traveler from Israel who arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport's Terminal B from Tel Aviv on Sept. 30. After leaving the airport, the man went to Rockland County, New York.

Regenye said the man being treated in Lakewood did some international travel but did know if the he was connected to the earlier instance.

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 infection can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, or a low-birth-weight baby.

According to the CDC, early symptoms of Pertussis can last for one to two weeks and usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
  • Mild, occasional cough
  • Apnea – a pause in breathing (in babies)

The classic symptom of chickenpox is a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that eventually turn into scabs, according to the CDC.  The rash may first show up on the face, chest, and back then spread to the rest of the body, including inside the mouth, eyelids, or genital area. It usually takes about one week for all the blisters to become scabs.

Other typical symptoms that may begin to appear one to two days before a rash include:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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