Mass. elementary school faces measles scare

Public health officials in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, recently announced that they are taking precautions after discovering a potential measles case at a nearby elementary school.

The South Street Elementary School student is considered a low suspect case, health officials said. Those trying to visit the school were asked not to venture past the front office and to leave as soon as possible, according to

Staff and students unable to produce proper documentation that they have received the measles vaccine will not be allowed to return to the school until mid-April. Staff from the school who were born before 1957 are not required to demonstrate proof of vaccination.

School officials are attempting to inform parents and the public to watch out for symptoms of the illness and to seek medical attention should they appear.

Massachusetts allows certain exemptions to immunization requirements for both medical and religious reasons. A waiver can be provided through a school nurse. Officials said they believe most South Street Elementary students are currently vaccinated, according to

Measles spreads readily from person to person through air droplets. Symptoms are similar to a cold or flu at the onset, but after several days a rash can begin to form on the face. The illness is also characterized by a fever, coughing and runny nose.