Measles Exposure at Two Mass. Hospitals

The Department of Public Health has issued a warning for people not immune.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed two cases of measles in the Boston area. Both were diagnosed during the last two weeks of August at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Metrowest Hospital in Framingham.

Measles is a very contagious respiratory disease, which is caused by a virus. If you visited either of those two hospitals during the dates listed below, and you are not immune, then you are at-risk for developing measles (or, according to officials, may have already started developing symptoms of the disease).

It is important to note that the DPH has specific instructions if you developing symptoms. Call your healthcare provider before visiting an office, clinic, or emergency room. Visiting a healthcare facility may put others at risk and should be avoided.

According to the DPH, the exposures occurred at the below dates and times:

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Medical Walk-in Clinic 8/17, 8/19
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Emergency Department 8/20
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Inpatient 8/20, 8/21, 8/22, 8/23

Metrowest Hospital, Framingham Emergency Department 8/23, 8/24
Metrowest Hospital, Framingham Inpatient 8/23, 8/24

Early symptoms of measles can occur 10 to 14 days after exposure and may resemble a cold (with fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes). The rash occurs on the skin two to four days after the initial symptoms develop. The rash usually appears first on the head and moves downward and typically lasts just a few days and then disappears.

According to the CDC, people with measles may be contagious up to four 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 are considered immune. The CDC recommendations are:

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.

“Fortunately, most people have been vaccinated against measles,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Al DeMaria in a statement. “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.”

For additional information, contact your local health department or DPH at 617-983-6800. Further information is available on the DPH website.