BOSTON — Massachusetts health officials are warning the public after two cases of the measles were confirmed in the past week in residents living in the Metrowest area.
Officials are working to identify people who may have been exposed and who could spread the highly contagious disease.
“Measles is spread through the air and it’s so contagious it lasts in the air up to two hours after someone with measles walks through a room,” Dr. Benjamin Kruskal, of Harvard Vanguard, told WBUR’s Radio Boston.
The town of Framingham said on its website the public may have been exposed at the Trader Joe’s in Framingham between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Feb. 15 or Feb. 16, and at Samba restaurant on Feb. 15 between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Most people have been vaccinated against measles, and those born before 1957 are likely immune. However, anyone who believes they were exposed and who begins to develop symptoms of measles should call their health care provider before visiting an office or emergency room.
“It’s a miserable illness for anybody who gets it, but it has a pretty high rate of complications, about one to three of every 1,000 cases of measles in the U.S. results in death,” Dr. Kruskal explained.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, early symptoms occur 10 days to two weeks after exposure and may resemble a cold with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. A rash occurs on the skin two to four days after symptoms first develop.
Dr. Kruskal said anyone can get vaccinated at any time, “but it probably doesn’t protect against that particular exposure unless it’s received pretty promptly, we say within 72 hours of the exposure.”
With reporting by The Associated Press.