A suspected case of measles in Forked River would mean the viral outbreak has officially made its way from central Jersey to south Jersey.

Patch.com reports that a Forked River Elementary School student is thought to have contracted measles. The Ocean County Health Department is working to confirm the diagnosis.

As of April 5, there are seven measles cases confirmed in Ocean County and four in Monmouth County, the state Department of Health says.

Forked River, exit 74 of the Garden State Parkway, is part of Lacey Township, lower Ocean County, which is considered south Jersey.

Measles is highly contagious, but the vaccination is considered 97% effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which insists that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving.

USA Today reports that a similar outbreak of measles in parts of New York City is being blamed on being "driven by a small group of anti-vaxxers" in the targeted neighborhoods who are opposed to vaccines, according to  New York Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot.

"They have been spreading dangerous misinformation based on fake science,” he said. “We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk."

Here is some basic measles information from the New Jersey Department of Health.

"Measles is a very contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Ninety percent of people with close contact with an infected person will get measles if they are not vaccinated. Before the measles vaccine became available, measles was a common childhood disease. Measles is considered the most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses.

Symptoms may include high fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes, rash. Measles can have serious complications such as ear infections, pneumonia, swelling of the brain, and miscarriage in pregnant women. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die."


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