For Immediate Release - March 06, 2014

State Health Officials Advise Residents to be Aware Regarding Measles

Individuals should be aware of symptoms and immunization status

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed two additional cases of measles in residents of Middlesex County for a total of six cases in the Commonwealth this year.

“Fortunately, most people have been vaccinated against measles,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at the Department of Public Health. “Our efforts now are to encourage people to confirm their immunization status with their healthcare provider and also be aware of the symptoms of measles so they may quickly seek medical attention.”

Measles is very contagious and people showing symptoms of measles are advised to telephone their providers rather than going directly to a healthcare facility.

Early symptoms of measles occur 10 days to 2 weeks after exposure and may resemble a cold (with fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes) but a rash occurs on the skin 2-4 days after the initial symptoms develop. The rash usually appears first on the head and moves downward. The rash typically lasts a few days and then disappears in the same order.

People with measles may be contagious up to 4 days before the rash appears and for four days after the day the rash appears.

People who have had measles in the past or who have been vaccinated against measles per CDC recommendations are considered immune.

CDC Recommendations

  • Children. Children should receive their first dose of Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12-15 months. School-aged children need two doses of MMR vaccine.
  • Adults. Adults should have at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Certain groups at high risk need two doses of MMR, such as international travelers, health care workers, and college students. Adults born in the U.S. before 1957 are considered to be immune to measles from past exposures, but in situations of exposure to measles may benefit from a dose of MMR vaccine to be safer.

State regulations require certain groups to be vaccinated against measles. Some health care workers and all children in kindergarten — 12th grade and college need to have 2 doses of MMR vaccine for school entry. Children in child care and preschool need 1 dose of MMR and childcare workers also need to have 1 or 2 doses of measles containing vaccine, depending on their age and other factors. A blood test that proves immunity can also be used to fulfill this requirement for all groups.

Confirmed Cases of Measles, 2003-2013

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For additional information, contact your local health department or DPH at 617-983-6800.

Further information is available on the DPH website at www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/factsheets pdf format of Measles rtf format of Measles .

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