Massachusetts health officials alert residents to potential measles exposure

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health warned Boston and Framingham residents on Tuesday about potential exposure to measles after cases were diagnosed at hospitals in each city.

The measles cases were diagnosed during the last two weeks of August at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Metrowest Hospital in Framingham. Massachusetts residents who visited the two hospital locations at the same time as the measles patients who are not immune could be at risk for developing measles.

Hospitals and the DPH are reaching out to individuals who visited Massachusetts General Hospital's medical walk-in clinic on August 17 and August 19, emergency department on August 20 and inpatient area between August 20 through August 23. The other measles patient visited Metrowest Hospital's emergency department and inpatient area on August 23 and August 24.

Individuals who were exposed who start to develop measles symptoms should contact their healthcare provider before visiting a clinic, office or emergency department to avoid putting others at risk.

"Fortunately, most people have been vaccinated against measles," Al DeMaria, the state epidemiologist, said. "Our efforts now are to identify people who may be at risk for getting ill and who may spread the disease further, and asking them to telephone their providers rather than going directly to a healthcare facility."

Measles symptoms occur 10 days to two weeks after exposure and include cold-like symptoms with a rash occurring two to four days following the development of symptoms. Individuals with measles may be contagious up to four days before the rash appears and for four days after it appears.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children receive their first dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at 12 to 15 months and that adults have at least one dose of MMR. The CDC recommends that certain high-risk groups receive two doses of MMR. School-aged children require two doses of MMR vaccine as well.