BOSTON, Mass. (WPRI) — A visiting student from Western Europe has been confirmed as the first case of measles in Massachusetts this year.
Measles is very contagious, but with more than 95% of students in the state already vaccinated, officials say an outbreak is unlikely.
“The measles vaccine (called MMR) is safe and highly effective,” said Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Monica Bharel. “As most measles cases in the U.S. have been among unvaccinated people and people who don’t know their vaccination status, this provides an opportunity to remind people to confirm their immunization status with their healthcare provider, and for parents to have their children vaccinated.”
According to the health department, early symptoms will develop 10 to 14 days after exposure. They at first may resemble a cold or flu, but then a skin rash will occur two to four days after the initial symptoms show up.
People with measles may be contagious up to four days before and after the rash appears, officials said.
If you’re showing possible measles symptoms, you’re advised to call your healthcare provider prior to visiting a healthcare facility.
The health department has been working to ensure health care facilities are keeping a close eye out for possible measles cases following a breakout in California earlier this year.
Massachusetts had eight confirmed cases in 2014, and only one in the two years prior to that.
For more information, contact your local health department or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at (617) 983-6800.