Boston investigates potential measles outbreak

The Boston Public Health Commission confirmed a second case of measles this week after identifying a case in a 24-year-old woman working at the Park Square Building in Back Bay last month.

The second case involves a woman in her 20s who lives in the same building as the first case, according to a press release from the Public Health Commission. Officials have been investigating several other suspected measles cases, including a woman in her 30s who ate at the same restaurant as the initial case, and a 40-year-old faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The Public Health Commission is currently working with the university to identify students, staff and faculty who may have been exposed to the disease while the professor — who teaches about 45 students — was contagious. Health officials have asked those who came into contact with the professor that do not have proof of immunity to avoid public activities for 21 days after their last encounter with the professor.

Confirmatory laboratory tests are pending and are expected to be available some time next week.

University Health Services are making measles vaccine available to students, and last week the Public Health Commission held free measles vaccine clinics in the Park Square Building in efforts to control spread of the disease. People who have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine or those with a blood test indicating immunity are considered immune to measles.

Measles is an airborne virus that spreads person to person through the air. Symptom onset usually occurs about 10 to 12 days after exposure to a person with measles and include high fever, runny nose, cough and red, watery eyes. A skin rash that begins on the face, and spreads to other parts of the body, usually occurs about two to four days later.

Public health officials urge anyone who thinks that they may have symptoms of measles to call their health care provider.

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