Five more people were sickened in the ongoing Ocean County measles outbreak, bringing the total number of confirmed cases throughout the state to 24.
The five newly-identified cases in Ocean County represent delayed reports of sick residents, the New Jersey Department of Health announced Thursday.
In November, the department said the outbreak had spread north to Passaic County after three members of a family came down with the highly contagious virus.
The New Jersey Department of Health said the Passaic County household had a direct link to the “outbreak community in Ocean County.”
More than 80 Ocean County residents were exposed to the measles at a private event in New York, but no new cases related to that event were announced by the health department as of Thursday night. Most of those exposed live in Lakewood, health officials said.
The first case in Lakewood involved a person who had traveled to Israel and was exposed to the virus. It was reported to the Ocean County Health Department on Oct. 26. The virus then began to spread through Lakewood, but was contained to the town before the family in Passaic County contracted it last month.
A full list of places infected people may have visited in both counties can be found here.
Anyone who was exposed at these places likely would have developed symptoms no later than Dec. 9, health officials said.
The measles outbreak will be declared over once two full incubation periods, a total of 42 days, have passed from the last day the last known case would have been infectious, the department said.
The health department said the most of the people who have been infected were those that “were not age-appropriately up-to-date with Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccines,” and that it was still distributing the vaccine to “providers serving the outbreak community.”
People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person, and anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not had measles is at risk if they were exposed, officials said.
Measles symptoms can include high fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes and a rash, and it can cause more serious complications, such as pneumonia and encephalitis, according to the department of health
If contracted, the virus can result in ear infections, pneumonia, swelling of the brain, miscarriage in pregnant women, and even death, particularly for children, according to health officials.