Lacey school district on alert after student ill with possible measles
It will be a few days before officials know for sure whether the Ocean County measles outbreak has spread beyond Lakewood.
A student at Forked River Elementary School is suspected of having measles, according to a letter posted online Monday by Lacey schools Superintendent Vanessa P. Clark.
Ocean County Department of Health spokesman Brian Lippai said a sample was taken from the Lacey student on Monday and sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing.
"We probably won't get any information until later on in the week as far as a confirmation," Lippai said.
After an outbreak of measles last year in Ocean County resulted in 33 confirmed cases ended in January, a second outbreak started in March, infecting 11 known people in Ocean and Monmouth counties.
Four of the recent cases are in a single Monmouth family who were exposed to a contagious Lakewood resident at Monmouth Medical Center.
Clark said the school's janitorial staff was increasing their "cleaning protocols" to make sure desktops and door handles are thoroughly disinfected.
She also said that if the case is positive, "an unvaccinated child who is exposed to measles will not be allowed to go to school during the time period when they could become sick, usually for 21 days after exposure. This may be extended if there are more measles cases."
She encouraged district families, teachers and administrators to review and update their vaccinations. The school will review all staff and student records if the case is confirmed.
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 infant birth weight.
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