Planet Princeton

Princeton University Student Has Suspected Case of Measles

Princeton University has received a report of an undergraduate student with a suspected case of measles, school officials told students, faculty and staff in a statement today.

Preliminary results were received on Tuesday, Feb. 17, and additional tests are being conducted, school officials said. Those results are expected in the next few days. The student has recovered and is no longer contagious, officials said.

Measles is caused by a virus and is easily spread from person to person. Measles starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat. It is followed by a rash that spreads over the body. When an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes, the virus is released into the air and enters another person’s body through the nose, mouth or throat. People can also become sick if they come in contact with the mucus or saliva from an infected person. The measles virus can live on contaminated surfaces and in the air for up to two hours.  Measles may be transmitted from four days before through four days after the onset of a rash.

Anyone known to have been in the same areas as the student with suspected measles are being contacted by school officials. All undergraduate and graduate students who have not been fully immunized will be contacted by Princeton University Health Services, advised of their options and monitored closely, and some may need to be isolated.

More than 99.5 percent of all Princeton University students have been vaccinated, school officials said, and the measles vaccine is very effective, but in rare cases even individuals whose vaccines are up-to-date might still get measles.

Undergraduate and graduate students who have symptoms consistent with measles should isolate themselves and call McCosh Health Center at (609) 258-3141 during business hours or (609) 258-3139 after hours.

The New Jersey Department of Health has recommended that any staff and faculty who were in any of the spaces listed below between Wednesday, Feb. 4, and Sunday, Feb. 8, should check their vaccination records and contact their family physician if they have any concerns. Those spaces include:

1938 Hall
Baker Hall
Blair Hall
Frick Chemistry building
Friend Center
Holder Hall
McCosh Health Center
Spelman Hall
Wallace Hall
Whitman College dining hall
Frist Campus Center, Dillon Gymnasium and New South (evenings and weekends)

To prevent the spread of measles, faculty and staff who may have been exposed and who have symptoms consistent with measles, should call their physicians, health care providers or emergency rooms before going for care.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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