Newark airport travelers possibly exposed to measles, NJ DOH warns

A traveler with the measles moved through Newark Liberty International Airport about three weeks ago, potentially exposing fellow flyers to the disease, according to New Jersey health officials.

The New Jersey Department of Health on Tuesday issued a warning to anyone who traversed the airport from May 29 at 5 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. the next day, noting those exposed may develop symptoms as late as June 20.

Local health departments are reaching out to individuals who may have been on a flight with the infected traveler, according to the department. The department added that anyone who suspects they may have been infected should call a health care provider before visiting a doctor in person to prevent spreading the disease.

State epidemiologist Christina Tan further urged anyone who has not gotten the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to get vaccinated — anyone unvaccinated is vulnerable to the disease, she said, whereas two doses of the vaccination is more than 99 percent effective in preventing infection.

“Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons,” Dr. Tan said in a news release through the New Jersey Department of Health.

New York City is currently in the grips of a measles outbreak, with 596 recorded cases within the five boroughs. Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s Health Department in April issued an emergency health order to impose fines for those who refused to vaccinate, though enforcing the order has been a laborious process, with over 100 unvaccinated failing to either get vaccinated or pay the requisite fines. Since the emergency order was issued, more than 51,000 children between the ages of six-months- to 18-years-old have been vaccinated, including 3,844 in Williamsburg, officials said.

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