Princeton University issued the following statement Wednesday, Feb. 18, to all undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty members and staff regarding a suspected case of measles contracted by a student. The message was sent by Peter E. Johnsen, M.D., director of medical services at University Health Services, and John Kolligian Jr., Ph.D., executive director of UHS.
We are writing to inform you that the University has received a report of an undergraduate student with a suspected case of measles. Preliminary results were received on Tuesday, Feb. 17, and additional tests are being conducted. Those results are expected in the next few days. The student has recovered and is no longer contagious.
Measles is caused by a virus and is very easily spread from person to person. Measles starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat. It’s 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.
For undergraduate and graduate students:
All individuals who are known to have been in the same areas as the student with suspected measles are being contacted. All undergraduate and graduate students who have not been fully immunized will be contacted by University Health Services (UHS), 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 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.
For faculty and staff:
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:
Frick Chemistry building
McCosh Health Center
Whitman College dining hall
and evening and weekend hours in Frist Campus Center, Dillon Gymnasium and New South.
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.
Additional information will be provided to students, faculty and staff as it becomes available.
More information about measles is available on the CDC website and the New Jersey Department of Health website (PDF).