New Jersey Department of Health

PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
March 5, 2024

Kaitlan Baston, MD, MSc, DFASAM
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

NJ Health Department Urges Individuals To Be Vigilant For Measles, Mumps

TRENTON – New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), which has already confirmed one case of measles in the state thus far in 2024, is now collaborating with local health departments to investigate eight suspected cases of mumps in one family cluster in Hunterdon County related to international travel. No additional information is available due to privacy concerns.

With these cases of vaccine-preventable diseases across the state and country, NJDOH is urging individuals, especially parents, guardians and caregivers, to be aware of the symptoms of these highly contagious viruses and to stay up to date with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shots.

The MMR shot is the most effective way to avoid these illnesses. Children are recommended to receive two doses of MMR, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR shot. Individuals who have not received two MMR shots or are unaware of their history should reach out to their health care provider to check their immunity levels, especially if traveling. In addition to health care providers, MMR shots are available at many pharmacies, local health departments and federally qualified health centers.

“As a physician and as a mom, I understand what it is like to try to keep your kids and your family healthy. The best way to keep you and your loved ones safe is to get the MMR shot. If you or your family have not gotten the shot, now is the time,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston, who recorded a public service announcement to be shared on social media. “These viruses are incredibly contagious, so if you suspect you may have measles, mumps, or rubella, it is important to call ahead before visiting any health care provider or facility so they can take special precautions.” 

NJDOH is urging individuals to be aware of the symptoms and, if they suspect illness, to call their health care provider first before arriving at the facility so that the provider can take precautions.

For measles:

  • Symptoms appear about one to two weeks after exposure.
  • Symptoms start as a high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery or red eyes.
  • The measles rash starts three to five days after the other symptoms.
  • Measles can also cause neurologic or brain complications for people later in life.

Mumps can start with fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Later, it appears as a swelling of the salivary glands or puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw. Mumps can be dangerous. Swollen glands can include swelling of brain, testicles, ovaries, or breast tissue. This can cause complications such as brain inflammation (encephalitis), deafness, or infertility later in life. 

Symptoms for rubella are mild and are similar to measles. But rubella can be very dangerous for pregnant people and can cause birth defects, miscarriage, or death for babies shortly after birth.

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